Laar calls for common EU stance on Russia

  • 2007-11-12
  • In cooperation with BNS

BERLIN -- Speaking at the opening event of the European Council on ForeignRelations in Berlin, the chairman of Estonia's Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) Mart Laar called on Europe to form a common foreignpolicy in dealing with Russia.

"Europe has left countries which are aspiring to adopta Western orientation, such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, under pressurefrom Russia and hasn't helped them effectively, focusing on economiccooperation with Russia," Laar, twice former prime minister of Estonia,said.

At the same event a report on EU-Russia relations waspresented which criticizes the current lack of coordination in Europe's policy toward Russia.

Laar said that apart from political support, countriesseeking a Western orientation need concrete measures of support such as theconclusion of free trade treaties and eased visa regulations.

"Europe has granted Russia more privileges in a number of areas than to Ukraineor Georgia," Laar said.

Laar also expressed his concern over the halting of the EUenlargement process, which may lead to a new destabilization of the situationin the Balkans.

The session of the European Council on Foreign Relationswas opened on Friday by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The European Council on Foreign Relations was launched inOctober 2007 to promote a more integrated European foreign policy in support ofshared European interests and values. ECFR was founded by a council whosemembers include serving and former ministers and parliamentarians, businessleaders, academics, journalists and public intellectuals. Their aim is topromote a new strategic culture at the heart of European foreign policy.