EU divided: Eastern Europe ‘mourn’ UK leaving as it struggles with France and Germany

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French President Emmanuel Macron, who is the most vocal EU advocate of what he has described as Europe’s “strategic autonomy”, last year dismissed NATO as “brain dead” in a row over defence spending. Last month, he had urged fellow EU member states to work together to draw up proposals for a new security deal with Russia involving a “frank dialogue” with Moscow. Mr Macron met with Mr Putin on Monday in Moscow, and the Russian leader some of his French counterpart’s ideas were “realistic” and could form the basis of further joint steps.

Germany have also come under attack for not following other Western countries in sending Ukraine lethal weapons to defend itself against a possible Russian attack.

This fury intensified when Berlin announced it is supplying just 5,000 military helmets to Ukraine to help defend itself.

On Monday during a joint press conference in Washington, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz didn’t confirm a pledge heard from US President Joe Biden that Germany’s direct gas pipeline from Moscow would not go ahead should Russia invade Ukraine.

Ms Adler wrote on the BBC website: “EU countries are often divided over Russia.

“Poland and other former communist countries in Eastern and Central Europe tend to want to be tough on Moscow, which they constantly view as a potential security threat.

“They see the UK as being of the same mind, and openly still mourn the UK’s departure from the EU because of this.

“Italy, France and Germany have often been accused by fellow EU members as being too “soft” in their dealings with Moscow; too keen on schmoozing President Putin, hungry for Russian business and – especially in the case of Germany, which has all but phased out nuclear power – Russian gas.

Ms Adler added: “Germany raised irritated eyebrows in and outside the EU recently for refusing to send weapons to Ukraine.

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Germany and France were recently torn apart over their reaction to a possible invasion from Russia of Ukraine, with a foreign policy expert warning they are playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands.

Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, is furious at the reactions from the EU superpowers, warning Russian leader Mr Putin will now see them as “completely weak”.

He told “It strikes me that some NATO members, such as Germany, won’t lift a finger even to defend NATO territory.

“The Germans are in a terrible mode towards the Russians and won’t stand up to Putin.

“This makes the situation even more dangerous.

“Emmanuel Macron wants a security pact between the EU and Russia but this is horrifying to see all of this.

“This is exactly what Vladimir Putin wants to hear and he sees the Germans and French as completely weak and furious.”

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