Poland and Germany to find united stance on Russian threat
PR dla Zagranicy
Germany's reliance on Russian gas at a time of crisis in Ukraine will top the agenda in talks between PM Tusk and Angela Merkel, when the German chancellor arrives in Warsaw, Wednesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) stands in front of a screen displaying an emergency system for accident cars during her opening tour across the CeBIT fair in Hanover, Germany, 10 March: photo - EPA/JOCHEN LUEBKE
"German dependence on Russian gas could effectively limit European sovereignty," Donald Tusk said on Monday ahead of Merkel's visit to Poland, where the two government leaders will try to find a common position on Ukraine and discuss Sunday's referendum in Crimea, which the EU has called "illegal".
Berlin has the deepest trade relationship with Moscow of all 28 nations in the EU, and PM Tusk warned that this dependence could blunt Germany's, and the EU's, response to threats from Russia.
Germany had to find a way to "correct its economic behavior so that dependence on Russian gas does not paralyze Europe when it needs to act quickly and unambiguously," Tusk said.
Tusk told journalists on Tuesday that he will be talking to Merkel on "this intense cooperation [between Russia sand Germany] and on the way it affects politics at a time when we must protect Europe's fundamental interests," the PAP news agency reports.
Chancellor Merkel has been seen as acting the "good cop" with Russia over the crisis, emphasizing dialogue with the Kremlin, as other nations, such as Poland and the US, push for a harder line over what they see as an invasion by Russian troops in Crimea.
Merkel and President Putin have spoken three times by telephone since the crisis began in Ukraine.
A source from Merkel's CDU party told the AFP agency on Tuesday that a tougher stance could be emerging from Berlin as Russia remains intransigent on its stance on Ukraine.
Russia must not be allowed to get away with an "annexation of Crimea" the source said. (pg)