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EU seeking united front on response to Russia

EU seeking united front on response to Russia
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With Russian soldiers remaining on Georgian soil, the EU meets on Monday for a potentially divisive emergency summit on what response to take. The Union is anxious to show a united front but differences may emerge on possible punitive action against Moscow.

Eastern member states favour sanctions but France, Germany and others oppose such tough measures. The German foreign minister has urged Russia and Georgia to avoid raising tensions further.

“The consequence are are already serious. The most important thing now is to prevent other consequences happening and that’s what I’m focusing on,” said Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has hinted that Moscow could respond with sanctions of its own if the EU takes this course. But analysts do not believe Brussels will go that far, opting rather for a warning that future EU-Russian relations will depend on the Kremlin’s actions in the coming weeks. It is thought additional pledges of reconstruction and other aid to Georgia will also be made at the summit.