Polish president: France, Germany too soft on Russia

Lech Kaczynski says commercial ties with Russia are affecting the two nation's stance; Eastern Europeans not sufficiently involved in determining EU policy.

Kaczynski 224.88 ap (photo credit: )
Kaczynski 224.88 ap
(photo credit: )
Poland's president criticized the way France and Germany have handled the crisis between Russia and Georgia, accusing them Saturday of being too soft on Moscow due to their commercial ties with Russia. Lech Kaczynski also said that European Union policy was being decided by the two EU giants without taking into consideration the views of new EU members such as Poland that once fell under Moscow's control during the Cold War. "Once again, it turns out that the real decisions in this organization are being made between Berlin and Paris," Kaczynski said in an interview published by the daily Rzeczpospolita and also posted on his official Web site. Poland and the ex-Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, all new EU members, have sharply condemned Russia for its military incursion into Georgia amid the conflict in South Ossetia. After the fighting broke out, the presidents of the four countries issued a joint statement calling Russia's policy "imperialist and revisionist" and urging NATO and the European Union to stand up to Moscow. They followed that up with a trip in recent days to Tbilisi, joined by Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, to show their support to Georgia. Germany and France have been less critical of Russia; and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France - which holds the EU's rotating presidency - has led efforts to end the fighting in the Caucasus. Kaczynski also said Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili thanked him for the show of solidarity with the visit to Tbilisi during a phone call Saturday. The statement on the president's Web site also said Kaczynski assured Saakashvili that he would continue to "support Georgia's integration in Euro-Atlantic structures" - a reference to Georgia's NATO aspirations.