"The emergency EU summit on relations with Russia has once again shown that Europe is split. Of course, participants of the meeting tried their best to imitate unity, but they did not quite succeed. After analyzing recent actions and statements by European leaders, 'Izvestia' tried to classify the 27 members of the united Europe and put together a kind of a rating of Russophobia -- or Russophilia, if you will."
The first category is led by Russia's most adamant critics -- Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland -- because their leaders flew to Tbilisi at the height of the conflict and spoke at a rally in support of Mikheil Saakashvili. "Luckily for Russia," says "Izvestia," "the political weight of the Baltic states in Europe is small, while Warsaw has discredited itself in recent years due to the efforts of the Kaczynski brothers." Britain is in the same group ("understandably," adds "Izvestia"), along with Sweden, which "has its Foreign Minister Carl Bildt to thank for this radicalization."
The second category is termed "moderate critics" and includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania, which do "have historical accounts to settle with Russia, but unlike Poland do not turn their differences with Russia into an obsessive idea of their foreign policy." Denmark is also a "moderate critic."
The third and largest category is made up of "centrists" who don't want "to get involved in a serious squabble with a nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and also a supplier of oil and gas." Those countries include Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Ireland, and Malta.
The fourth category is comprised of Russia's "advocates" or "lobbyists." Russia's chief advocate, according to "Izvestia," is France with its "special eastern policy." "Fortunately for Russia, Paris holds the EU presidency now. One can only imagine what the emotional and ideological background [of the summit] could be if the presidency was held by the Poles or, let's say, Estonians."
Germany is praised for "a traditionally balanced approach," and Italy has been Russia's lobbyist "especially after Silvio Berlusconi, who calls the Russian premier 'my friend Vladimir,' returned to the prime ministers' chair." Among the "Russophiles" are also Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece, and Cyprus.
-- Pavel Butorin