France and Germany Torn Between Russia and the US
Europe’s electoral season starts with a rise in pro-Russian sentiment across borders
The presidential candidates in Germany and France must promise their voters they will be friends with the Kremlin. Lately François Hollande said he was sorry about the deterioration of relations with Russia. A little earlier Frank-Walter Steinmeier curtsied in our direction for the twentieth time. And Nicolas Sarkozy’s pro-Russian attitude is legendary.
Though symbolic, this is all just election rhetoric. But today we have a unique chance to discover the public mood in Europe.There is another topic besides the normalization of relations with Russia, which the future leaders of Germany and France – major states that will define European policy after Brexit – are struggling with. It’s the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a trade agreement with the USA that is driving a stake in Eurasia’s European peninsula.
TTIP completes the legal boundaries of the ‘golden billion’ that already have their own army (NATO), their fences and money (the Bretton Woods Agreement), a stranglehold on the rest of the world. The question is whether Europeans want to live inside these boundaries that resemble a golden cage or not. Because once TTIP is signed, they can forget about the sovereignty of Europe’s democracies.
Pre-election rhetoric suggests the candidates competing for seats in parliament don’t really want this to happen.
“In my opinion, negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it,” German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on August 28th on air, referring to the talks on the Transatlantic Partnership.
“France is calling for an end to TAFTA and the TTIP negotiations,” – France’s lead negotiator and Minister of Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl tweeted, before announcing officially: “France calls for a quick and final end to the negotiations. These talks caused much fear everywhere. Now they must be terminated. We need a clear and definitive halt to these negotiations in order to start over on a sound footing.”
This means that anti-American sentiment is being added to pro-Russian rhetoric in the forthcoming elections.
Even François Hollande’s speech to ambassadors was somewhat surprising. “The Ukrainian crisis impacted Russian/European relations. This is regrettable because it hurts all sides, in particular,sanctions hurt joint economic projects. That’s why we’re all trying to find the best way out as soon as possible,” – Hollande said.
Although he has no chance of winning, this politician who totally caved to the US is also playing to pro-Russian sentiment, knowing exactly how ordinary French people feel, notwithstanding a corrupt, Russophobic media.
As for Angela Merkel, if she fails to admit she secretly loves Putin’s Russia, she will be letting her followers down, depriving the CDU of a majority in the Bundestag.
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