News / Europe

Romania's Basescu Slams EU for Soft Putin Stance

FILE - Romania's President Traian Basescu in Bucharest, June 25, 2014.
FILE - Romania's President Traian Basescu in Bucharest, June 25, 2014.

Romania's President Traian Basescu on Monday accused the European Union of being weak and too slow in imposing sanctions on Russia to deter it from encroaching further into Europe after its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

An ex-communist state on the Black Sea, Romania joined the EU in 2007 and has been among the most vehement advocates of Western sanctions against Moscow after neighboring Ukraine lost control of its peninsula and some of its eastern territories.

"We're now facing a reality because we didn't discourage Putin, because in Eastern Europe there's a conflict fueled by the Russian Federation, with military equipment, politically, with personnel, so that 192 Dutch citizens died on Monday," Basescu told a news briefing.

He was refering to the downing of a Malaysian airliner with nearly 300 people on board in separatist-held territory in Ukraine last week. One of the victims was a Romanian.

Basescu said it was a mistake to handle sanctions against Russia "with kid gloves".

The more delay in implementing them the higher the price will be paid to stop Putin's plans to rebuild the former Soviet Union's empire, he said.

Romania has said NATO must reposition its resources in the wake of Moscow's maneuvers and plans a gradual increase in its defense budget over the next two years.

It is especially concerned that Moldova, a small state bordering Romania with a Russian-speaking minority - could be next in Moscow's sights given the risk of separatist unrest there.

Basescu attributed the EU's stance towards Russia to various economic interests by member states: "There's always an argument: one country has a big investment, other has to deliver sophisticated equipment, another is natural gas dependant."

"Today is Ukraine, then the Baltics borders are reached, then Poland and then Romania," he said. "Aren't we at risk by making economic considerations weigh more than solidarity with states in the EU's eastern flank?"

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Comment Sorting
by: Boris Ionut from: Bucharest, Romania
July 22, 2014 8:37 PM
Maybe Mr. Basescu remembers Hitler ascension better than his european colleagues. First Czechoslovakia than we'll see...

by: Goyisher_Kop from: Buhusi
July 22, 2014 5:09 PM
Basescu is a nationalist Romanian politician. He has a fixation with Russia and the unification of Moldova and Romania.

Russia poses no real threat to Romania. However, it poses a threat to the territorial integrity of Moldova, a Romanian state.

Russia is inimical to Romania as it is inimical to all Eastern European countries who joined NATO and are faithful allies to the USA. Russia exerts a subversive influence in Romania, true. However, for Russia, Romania must represent small stuff.

Ponta (Romania's PM) seems to be less pro-American and anti-Russian than Basescu.
He will compete with Klaus Iohannis, a Romanian German and most likely the opposition's candidate, for the presidency of Romania this autumn. I suspect that Iohannis, being German, is even less anti-Russian than Ponta, a Romanian Romanian. (In fact Ponta has Vlachs origins. Even Basescu doesn't seem to be 100% Romanian. He has the squinted eyes of Putin. Tatar blood? Tatars live in the Dobrogea region from where he comes.)

So, this staunch anti-Russian attitude of Romania could become history after the end of Basescu's term this autumn.

by: Magy from: Romania
July 22, 2014 5:15 AM
Hard to believe this are his words, because few months ago, when the prime minister tried to say something about Russia being too aggressive, Basescu said his job is not to talk like this, but better he should search cheap gas. So, when did he spoke the truth, then or now? I guess he is going where the wind blows.. trying hard to impress the west...

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 22, 2014 12:48 AM
Maybe Basescu hasn't been a shining light for the troubles in Romania, but he makes a valid point. He knows that the EU and UN are weak. And the leader of the free-world (Obama) is simply a talker, not a man of action!!!!!

by: Not Again from: Canada
July 21, 2014 11:06 PM
The Romanian Pres has the clear wiew of the situation; given that his country is next to Ukraine, his view is very clear and his sit is far more risky; and given that Romania was under the Soviet fist, he understands the bad situation Ukraine finds itself in. And obviosly he does not have the inside track, to Putin, that the German chancellor has, and thus she looks the other way, Westwards, to more normal sights, like France, and even the Netherlands, rather than confront the reality turning more ugly by the day in the East.
Will see how many more innocent lives will it take, to see Germany, France, the Netherlands separate themselves from their money and investments on the other side of Europe = Russia; and join the US/Canada/Britain/Australia in the search for justice and peace; appeasement does not work, it only emboldens agressors.

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