Venizelos Wants EU To Relent on Russia

venizelos_6
Deputy PM Evangelos Venizelos says the EU can do little about Russia invading Ukraine

With Europe largely reliant on Russia for its gas and energy supplies, and Greece depending on Russian investments during a crushing economic crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos said there should be no sanctions on Russia for invading Crimea and threatening to annex the region.
Venizelos went to Ukraine to meet the new leaders installed after the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych, believed responsible for the deaths of nearly 100 protesters who were furious he was pulling the country closer toward Russia and away from the European Union.
He received asylum in Russia and is being backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin whose response to the rebellion was to move troops into the largely-Russian speaking Crimea region amid fears of more military action.
But with EU leaders set to gather in Brussels for an emergency summit about the crisis in Ukraine, Venizelos said there’s practically little they can do except plead with Putin and try to find a diplomatic solution.
Venizelos said Greece doesn’t want economic sanctions on Russia, a close ally. “Sanctions are unfortunately always double-edged, with repercussions for those who suffer them but also for those who impose them,” Venizelos told a press conference in Athens.
“We don’t want sanctions,” he added a few hours before Prime Minister Antonis Samaras boarded a flight to Brussels to meet his EU peers. Greece gets much of its gas from Russia as well, and Samaras recently got Putin to agree to have the Russian company Gazprom lower the prices to help Greek businesses.
Kathimerini said according to sources at the ministry, Athens is reluctant to lose the new momentum in Greek-Russian ties, particularly following the expression of Russian investor interest in the operating arm of the Hellenic Railways Organization, Trainose, and the Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH).
There are fears that the possible imposition of sanctions on Russia could put off the potential investors and that it’s more important for Greece to side with Russia than the EU no matter the cost to Ukraine, which isn’t in the bloc.


  • Polycrates

    What does the Deputy Prime Minister think of the Gasprom deal with Russia making Greece dependent upon imports for energy from Russia and consequently an energy slave to an Eastern European despot.

  • Leftist censorship

    Actually its amazing that he has the balls to be taking a pro-Russian position. The US and modern British have clearly betrayed us the Skopians. The Ukrainian lobby in the US even signed an offensive letter a few weeks ago lobbying for the SKopians. He’s letting them know there are consequence to their betrayal and also letting the Russians know Greece is looking for new allies.

    We should strongly support Russia from this point onward. (unless its some egregious crime we can’t ignore) Its not that I trust the Russians any more than the US but Russia is looking for allies so we might be able to get meaningly support from them on issues like FYROM. The US always takes Turkeys side (unless Israel says otherwise like the Cyprus gas issue) and will continue to do so. US looks other way with FYROM. We can’t trust them anymore. They aren’t an ally. They used to be ally. Allies help you they don’t collude with your enemies.

    “40 US congressmen support Macedonia’s NATO membership”
    http://kurir.mk/en/2014/02/11/40-us-congressmen-support-macedonias-nato-membership/

  • Polycrates

    The cards are clearly stacked in Russia’s favour on the issue of the Ukraine. The EU could have been energy self-sufficient but instead became dependent for its energy from Russia. Europe has few options, none effective. The suggestion of applying sanctions for the Russian incursion into Crimea will result in the almost immediate interruption of energy while we are still in the teeth of winter and midst of an economic calamity.
    Rather than supporting Russia which has it’s eyes on dominating the region not partnering. It would be far more beneficial that Greece play both sides against one another using it’s offshore oil/gas reserves (unproven) as leverage. Nothing will make Western Europeans take notice faster than a new source of energy from a less vulnerable source.

  • Leftist censorship

    The Russians will win but for only one reason. They have thousands of nuclear weapons that do the talking. The US government only becomes a big tough guy quick to invade when someone can’t defend themselves. However, Russia gets hammered by english speaking western press that constantly demonize them. They have lost alliances with many formerly Russianaligned states. They are definitely on the hunt for allies.

    The Russians can actually be pretty good allies when they have incentive.They sunk billions of investment into Cuba during the early cold war.

    I’m actually willing to be loyal to the Russians. I hate disloyalty but loyalty is a two way street. Retraction of name recognition and strong condemnation of FYROM (and any who apologize for them) Anything less and I agree with your point we should play all sides. In either case though, we first need to open the door to the Russians to find out where it goes.

  • Polycrates

    The Russians have actually done us a favour demonstrating how vulnerable we’ve become since the fall of the Soviet Union. Western Europe has a sizable trade balance and is not of the mindset to create waves of distrust while billions hang in the balance. Energy is the second concern as there is insufficient resources available should the gas pipelines be closed. So it falls upon the Americans that no longer have the resolve or resources to be the policeman of the world. One billion in US aid does almost nothing towards resolving the Ukraine’s fiscal deficit.
    Venizelos took a calculated no-risk decision to play diplomat to the EU audience while not attacking Putin and chance losing revenue from Russian tourists. He has nothing to lose discussing the Ukraine, but has greatly distanced himself from the kitchen table issues that affect Greece. Basically a cowards play and a selfish grab for media attention.

  • Leftist censorship

    The cowards are the one that mindlessly parrot US media and US foreign policy.

    A perfect example of this is Greek Reporter. For the most part its defintion of “human rights’ is basically whatever the US defined as “human rights: They even treasonously cut and paste the US State Departments views on Greece with regards to “undocument migrants” (i.e. llegals). The unprincipled Skopian colluding US state department is effectively trying to dictate to us open border immigration policies… while they themselves deport illegals. (and thats with leftwing Obama)

    http://usa.greekreporter.com/2014/02/28/state-department-report-on-human-rights-in-greece/

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/obamacare-bars-illegal-immigrants-and-sticks-hospitals-with-the-bill/282444/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/08/27/obama-is-deporting-more-immigrants-than-bush-republicans-dont-think-thats-enough/

    Believe me I’m not a fan of Venizelos. He’s a leftist after all. However, i worry myself more with policy than trying to demonzie someone. Given the anti-Russian rhetoric in the west, and given our current unpopularity, Venizelos was actually quite brave to go against the US by taking a pro-Russian stance. It was a decision benficial to Greece because its also sending a strong signal to our “allies” if they keep it up they eventually going to see Russian nuclear subs in the Aegean.

    Credit where credit is do. Good job Venizelos.