Spotlight: Triangle ties among EU, U.S., Russia in focus at Munich Security Conference

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-19 07:50:46|Editor: ZD
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Munich Security Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger makes the closing remarks during the 54th MSC in Munich, Germany, on Feb. 18, 2018. The 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC) closed on Sunday, leaving "a lot more work ahead" in addressing global security issues. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)

by Xinhua writers Zhu Sheng, Yuan Shuai

MUNICH, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Munich Security Conference (MSC) was and is a good platform for discussion of the triangle relationship among the European Union (EU), United States and Russia.

Gu Xuewu, director of the Center for Global studies at Bonn University, told Xinhua that Europe is becoming more disappointed with the United States on the issue of defence. "The sense of security and trust in the U.S. is disappearing," he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. only urged the EU to take more responsibilities, but neglected the EU's appeal, which has led to a rift of trust between each other, Gu said.

Referring to Russia, Gu said that the unity between the EU and the U.S. will cause concerns for Russia of its own strategic security.


If the EU really wants to become a global actor, it has to make more decisions in foreign policy, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at the 54th MSC.

For the EU, common defense has been a critical theme of the shift away from dependence on the United States, with the November 2017 signing and December 2017 launch of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) agreement, allowing 25 participating EU member states to pursue greater cooperation on matters of defense and security.

Juncker spoke highly of the progress made last year in this regard. He said that "we want to emancipate ourselves in defense and security policy issues." But it didn't mean against NATO or the United States.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that cooperation between Europe and the U.S. is important for maintaining the western architecture of freedom, made after the second world war.

However, he questioned that "Germans are nowadays not particularly sure whether we still recognize our America. Is it deeds, words or or tweets that we should look to measure America."


U.S. National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster, who spoke at the three-day event, said that the evidence that Russia tried to meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election is "incontrovertible."

"As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain, whereas in the past it was difficult to attribute for a couple of reasons," McMaster said.

The indictment charged 13 Russians with running a huge but hidden social media campaign aimed in part at helping Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that "as long as we don't have facts, all the rest is blabber."

Despite the diplomatic bickering between both countries, former U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden made clear at the MSC that "even as we stand firm in defense of our democracy, we can't quit talking to Russia or trying to work with them on critical issues like strategic stability, because the stakes are much too high."


Lavrov accused NATO, the U.S. and the EU of anti-Russian propaganda that has led to "paralysis" in mutual contacts and called for greater respect to be shown to Russia.

Speaking on Saturday, Lavrov said Russia had been treated like a school pupil in the 1990s, while today the talk was of a "Russian threat."

Russia's rising influence was being treated in a negative context, whereas Russia aimed to be a reliable partner, according to the senior diplomat.

"We are prepared to enter into an open dialogue characterized by respect," he said, adding "we would like to have a predictable and strong EU that is a responsible player in the foreign policy arena."

Gabriel called for step-by-step reduction of EU's sanctions against Russia.

It was unrealistic to insist on full implementation of the Minsk peace accords before offering some relief from sanctions agreed by the U.S. and the EU over Russia's role in Ukraine, Gabriel said, adding that to reduce sanctions step by step was "in the world's interests" to break the current impasse. Enditem