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Schulz: Russia Filling Vacuums Created By EU Paralysis

BRUSSELS -- European Parliament President Martin Schulz says the EU's focus on the multiple crises that have hit the bloc has allowed Russia to play geopolitical games at its expense.

Schulz told RFE/RL on March 3 that the EU has become “more inward-looking and completely absorbed, partially paralyzed, by internal problems” such as the migrant crisis.

“We are not taking enough seriously the role we have to play as an economic power -- as a game changer, we could combine our economic influence with political actions,” he said. “And this is creating a vacuum politically.

“Any vacuum in political life is filled by somebody, and for the time being we see Russia filling some of these spaces we have given up,” Schulz added.

He also said Brussels could not offer EU membership perspectives to countries stuck between the EU and Russia because some of the current members won't support further enlargement to the East.

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