Europe’s Misadventure in Moscow
To keep from being outplayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the European Union must get its act together. Perhaps EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s disastrous visit to Moscow will provide the needed impetus.
MADRID – When the European Union’s foreign ministers convene on February 22, they will have to confront the political fallout from the ill-fated visit to Moscow by Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. One hopes that the reckoning catalyzes much-needed progress toward developing a coherent European Russia policy.
The timing of Borrell’s visit to Moscow – the first by an EU official since 2017 – was odd, to say the least. In the weeks before he arrived, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had returned to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering since last August from what was most likely a Kremlin-ordered poisoning. Navalny did not even make it out of the airport before he was arrested.
After hasty and farcical court proceedings, Navalny was sentenced to nearly three years in a penal colony. This touched off a wave of protests – and a wave of repression by the Kremlin. Police have detained thousands of demonstrators, often using excessive force.