Estonian ex-president: Macron unconvincing in calling for closer dialogue with Russia

  • 2020-02-17
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - French President Emmanuel Macron was unable to convince participants in the Munich Security Conference that Europe should have a closer dialogue with Russia, member of the advisory council of the conference and former president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves told public broadcaster ERR.

"His idea, which he was not able to give any reasons for here either, that [Europe] should come closer to Russia -- essentially that the sanctions should be abolished and other such things -- did not convince the audience, based on its reaction," Ilves told ERR. "His approach is something along the lines of 'I'm here now, I know how things are to be done, and you don't'. This is not the way for achieving consensus in Europe, I must say. His views regarding Russia in particular are something that have rather alienated a significant part of Europe, that is Eastern Europe.

"This presentation lacked substance. When the issue of Russia emerged, he said 'I am not pro-Russia, nor am I anti-Russia -- I am pro-Europe.' What does that mean here?" the former Estonian president said, adding that also disconcerting was Macron's statement that Europe is responsible for what occurred in Ukraine in 2014. There were very few top-level security and foreign policy experts in this hall who agreed that the 2014 developments in Ukraine were Europe's fault, Ilves opined.