Toom on Russia’s annexation of Crimea: Policy of non-recognition an option (4)
MEP Yana Toom (Center/ALDE) said to ERR’s Vikerraadio on Tuesday that in the case of the Crimean peninsula, a policy of non-recognition could be an option. She also thinks that the economic sanctions against Russia will be gone come summer 2017.
Asked how relationships with Russia should be treated in the future, Toom said that there had been a time when other states hadn’t recognized the incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR. “When the olympic regatta was opened in Tallinn in 1980, there were no American athletes there. Non-recognition worked. The same thing could be done in the case of Crimea, for example,” Toom said.
Concerning economic sanctions, Toom hasn’t changed her view. “The sanctions have been in effect for two years, and has anything changed? No. It’s very clear that we can’t change Russia’s behavior with this kind of pressure,” she said.
Toom thinks that the same sanctions will be gone by summer 2017. The reason for this, she says, is that there are interests in Europe that want to see the sanctions narrowed, or abolished completely.
“When political forces that have always been against Russia start changing their mind, this is a signal to all of us. There is a real risk that we may end up in a corner, shouting slogans at a point the rest of Europe isn’t with us anymore,” Toom said.
She pointed out that it was business connections that guaranteed peace and avoided war. “The European Union was once built on economic connections, and this project has worked,” Toom said. She added that she agreed with former prime minister and transit businessman Tiit Vähi, who said in an interview with daily Postimees on Monday that Estonia should work towards repealing the sanctions against Russia.
Asked about NATO units rotating in and out of Estonia, Toom said that Estonia was hysterically afraid of war, and that the allied military presence didn’t do anything for the country.
“We need to build effective defenses of our own, that is true. But if every third of our young men doesn’t get into the military because he’s not healthy, then that’s the problem. The presence of NATO allies is a nice thing, but we have to choose whether we want to attract investment or prepare for war. We can’t do both at once,” Toom said.