Posted by on 15 May 2014. Filed under Foreign Affairs, Politics, Top news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

GLOBSEC: PM Fico Questions EU Solidarity On Ukraine

At the global security conference Globsec in Bratislava, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico spoke out against a third wave of sanctions against Russia, while also taking a swipe at the lack of solidarity shown by France, as it sold military equipment to Russia, despite the tense relations over the Ukraine crisis.

PM Robert Fico (c) Martin Domok - mdpix.sk

PM Fico said he is highly skeptical about a third round of sanctions on Russia by the European Union, which would include mostly economic measures. He explained that they would “harm not only the European economy in an exceptional way, but above all the economies of the countries that border Ukraine”.

Fico underlined that Slovakia would conduct itself as a responsible player in respect of Ukraine, but questioned the stance of other countries to the situation. He then pointed to France as an example of how, despite the talk of solidarity, it proceeded in its own economic interests by selling military boats to Russia. He also noted that while everyone is trying to resolve a potential energy crisis in Ukraine, Russian gas giant Gazprom just signed a deal with a “German, French and Italian company” on the construction of the gas transmission line bypassing Ukraine, South Stream.

14 Comments for “GLOBSEC: PM Fico Questions EU Solidarity On Ukraine”

  1. James

    ‘Perhaps we should just all mind our own business then…..’

    Have to say that’s also my inclination – or would be were it not for the fact that Russia signed up to Ukraine’s independent territorial integrity 20 years ago, and yet is now interfering, provoking, annexing to its heart’s content.

  2. Mattej

    Is there even a remote chance that Kiskars will make some kind of changes from June 15 and put the breaks on for Bobbbbaaayyyy?
    Bobbbbaaayyyy still rockin da boat and makin da sheep go neeee.
    Pack up and move on already.

  3. Dave C.

    BnM was reminded at the same conference that as a memeber of NATO, the SVK should be spending at least 2% of GDP on defence , double the current spending. “We have no money” the great man explains. Mmmmm …., strange? Loads of dosh to give the non-jobs in state offices generous pay hikes, lack of jingle was not a brake on selling property to “friends” at below market prices, estimates that 4 – 5% of GDP is “disappearing”, other Govt. spending on barmy projects continues un-checked. The guy must believe that the bullsh*t he feeds the local mushrooms is going to accepted on the world stage.

  4. Dave C.

    I’d love to know who brief Red Rob before he starts making these statements.
    France has made no firm decision to deliver the two Minstral class assault ships to the Russians. The first hull will not be completed until late summer and no decision will be made until then. Note hull, not fully equipped warships. A number of other countries have registered an interest in buying the ships ( not boats – dim landlubber!) and the Yanks are putting the pressure on to see these vessels sold to allied nations not the reds.
    As for his comment on the South Stream pipeline which has been in progress for years ( not just now) – Russia has never been happy about having no control over the Ukraine gas pipelines – they have to pay to use them to get their gas to the west – hence the Gazprom controlled North Stream under the Baltic. The scheme was shelved because of the costs and because the transit countries would not allow Gazprom control of the pipeline BUT the new gas fields in the eastern Med, and the connections to the trans Iraq pipeline, as part of the new EU energy strategy, requires Europe to have a southern feeder. Moreover, the southern feed could be connected eventualy via Turkey to the Caspian Basin fields which would disadvantage the Russians. So the deal BnM so cockily refers to is part of a much more complex, long term plan. Maybe he should stick to playing “Jim’ll Fix It” for his mates and leave the serious political work to those more informed and able!

    • James

      ‘France has made no firm decision to deliver the two Minstral class assault ships to the Russians.’

      On May 12th, the French Defence minister was widely quoted as saying ‘this deal is certain to go ahead’ and that reneging on it would harm French interests. Has there been a change of thinking since then? Or was something lost in translation?

      • George M

        Widely quoted where Jimbo ? Is France actually part of the EU , one has to ask,other than in name, as `Brussels rules` never seem to apply to them? Well not until at least 7 years after everyone else is forced on the pain of death to effect the Law. Remember also Jimask, this is a French promise ie..say one thing, do another and visa-versa …

        You clearly have not been opening your French letters correctly Jimko ….get the wifi to use the pill. .

        • James

          Is France actually part of the EU , one has to ask,other than in name, as `Brussels rules` never seem to apply to them? Well not until at least 7 years after everyone else is forced on the pain of death to effect the Law.

          Well exactly. But also kind of the point Robo was trying to make, isn’t it?

          • George M

            But Bobby is not selling anything to anyone, he is buying ….no?

            I just wonder if Slovwvakers interest also extend to Booby`s head being stuck so far up Putins arse , that the bald Bear can wash his teeth for him every morning……?

            What do you fink Jimbo …

      • Dave C.

        James: The French Def. Min’s comments as quoted are correct but an article in Le Monde last month? puts a bit more flesh on the bones of this story. The Russians have ordered 4 Mistral Class assault ships, the two under construction in France and the other two to be built at a new yard under construction in Russia. The French are in a hard place – 4 ships for which most of the materials have been ordered and no other prospective buyers – at the present. The Ukraine crisis has brought this into focus and I think there is a bit of French brinkmanship here. The US didn’t want these ships to go to Russia in the first place and they are now applying more pressure on the French not to deliver the two under construction. Again widely reported, the French Government have said no firm decision on the sale of the two ships under construction will be made until the first one is launched. Other countries, who have eyed these particular class of ships for some time are now coming under pressure, almost certainly from the US, to buy them and I think the French are playing wait and see – if they can secure other buyers for the 4 ships. Point to note, the Russian deal was only for hulls, the French would be happy as mudlarks if “western” powers decide to buy them with all the bells and whistles that the fully equipped ships have especially if they were all to be built in French yards. I don’t see this as double standards by the French, just good business, at present. Of course my stance would change if the ships are delivered to the Reds – the Russians are at least a decade behind the west in ship construction and design and “we” should not be selling them anything that will change that.

        • Dave C.

          Bit of an update – the Vladivostock is currently having her sea trials and will be due for handover to the Russians 1/11/2014. Hollande confirmed in an article posted yesterday in Defence News that no final decision on the handover will be made until October this year. Also, and this seems to have been ignored by most reports – the ships are unarmed, no advanced radar or electronics, basically a civilian ferry that just happens to be able to carry helicopters and marines – the Russians, who have paid for the ships, will have to finish the ships with their own weapons, radars, electrical systems, aircraft handling gear etc. which will take at least another year. The second ship, Sevastapol will not be ready for handover until late 2015 and the other two are still in bits. Also while this story has led to some French bashing the fact that they have cancelled a project to design and build a new fleet of armoured vehicles for the Russians hasn’t been widely reported, a project worth far more than these ships.

        • James

          Thanks, there’s plenty of substance there. Still, your ‘good business’ could easily be seen as self-serving prevarication, couldn’t it – when we’re talking about sanctions, the need for EU-wide and western solidarity etc etc?

          French officials have also been quoted in this context as saying that ‘other (EU) countries should bear the weight of sanctions’. We know from experience that when an EU country says stuff like this (‘other countries should do more of X, Y amd Z’), they really mean ‘we think we should be doing less of X.Y or Z’. This isn’t French-bashing – but France does happen to be the country with the important arms-dealing relationship with Russia, and that’s why they’re under discussion here.

          My sense about all this is that the US has – yet again – blundered into a situation that’s not quite as good vs evil as it thinks it is, and that its allies are not quite as onside or united as it wants them to be. Rather backed up by the fact that your post twice refers to the US ‘applying pressure’, first to France, then to potential buyers from France.

          • George M

            Perhaps we should just all mind our own business then ? ….Ukraine is hardly a model democracy and as corrupt as hell . The current government is actually non elected, threw a democratically President out of his job (even he was a banker ) …and Russia is actually taking back land that always belonged to them, with the people of Ukraine in those area`s, actually electing to do so , ie the Crimea . Mind you, if I was those people and was going to get a pension four times the size of the current Ukraine one, get regular supermarket food supplies and have a secured flow of gas to heat my winter home, I may to the same .

            Not sure anyone in the rest of the world is actually unhappy about all this other than Ukraine of course ..but that is a bravado thing, and the USA as once again Putin has given them the finger .

          • Dave C.

            Another important fact not widely reported is that although the two ships close to being completed have been assembled in France 40% of the total construction was completed in Russia and over 10% in Poland with the bits being floated around to the French yard. Short of cutting the things up I can’t see how France can get out of delivering the two without new buyers.

  5. George M

    The quicker this pip squeak of a nation becomes just a suburb of Hungary, Austria, Poland and Russia the better, who would even notice ??

    ….a man who got voted for by one million morons, has an opinion on the lives 501 million others …geezeeee …watching paint drying is a Slowvak hobby, no ?

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