Extraordinary meeting held at request of several EU member states:
The President of the French Republic as current President of the European Council, has, at the request of several EU Member States, decided to convoke an extraordinary meeting of the European Council which will be held on Monday 1 September in Brussels.But there's a big problem:
This meeting will be devoted to the crisis in Georgia, particularly to the course of action that the European Union intends to take in terms of aid to Georgia and its future relations with Russia.
Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition is split over confronting Russia, its biggest energy supplier, for invading Georgia, threatening efforts to strike a united European response to a resurgent Kremlin.There's a lot of hand-wringing going on because Russia has the upper hand and everyone knows it. Saakashvili has put Old Europe in a difficult position, and now they will make some decisions for their own interests.
...``Everybody in the EU is looking for Germany to lead on this, and if the Germans can't get their act together, it's very bad news for the rest of Europe,'' said Shada Islam, an analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels. ``It's a bit of a gamble to hold this meeting, which may merely serve to reveal all the cracks and fissures in the EU's Russia policy.''
Germany is the 27-nation EU's biggest member and has the closest links to Russia, so it has most to lose from reducing economic ties that flourished under Merkel's Social Democratic predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, now co-head of a joint venture with Russian state-owned gas monopoly OAO Gazprom. Merkel's own party, the Christian Democratic Union, is pushing her to confront Russia to improve its record on human rights and democracy. Her Social Democrat coalition partners, including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stress dialogue over sanctions or confrontational rhetoric because they don't want to risk Germany's place as Russia's No. 1 European trading partner.
Soon we will hear shrill, ear-piercing screams coming from the neocons because Everything's Ruined!
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Aug. 28 that some EU states at the summit ``will propose sanctions'' while ``others will be against.'' The EU has to decide such measures unanimously, making sanctions unlikely because a single member state can block imposing sanctions on Russia. ``Europe can't do very much,'' said Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels. ``We mainly import energy from Russia and if we cut trade ties it's going to be a very cold winter.''