Steinmeier Warns Against a Split in Europe
A split within Europe is the most tangible risk in light of the crisis in Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after meeting with his Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts.
In a joint press conference after the talks, Steinmeier said that political chaos in the European Union is the most tangible risk and cooperation between European states, as well as united statements on policy are all the more important.
The steps taken by the European Union and OSCE clearly show a lack of political consensus in Europe, as demonstrated by the failure of talks over the gas supplies to Ukraine and the transport plane shot down Saturday in Ukraine, which killed 49, Steinmeier said.
On Monday, Russia halted its gas supplies to Ukraine in an escalation of a price dispute.
The minister said that the EU’s response must pressure Russia into changing its actions in Ukraine, but also when it comes to the repeated violations of Baltic airspace. According to NATO, Baltic Air Policing aircraft were scrambled 13 times in response to airspace incursions by Russia last week, one over Estonia.
Steinmeier stressed that “your problems are our problems”, indicating a mutual solidarity within the EU, echoed by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius.