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Is Merkel planning to continue EU anti-Russian line despite Trump?

The French commentator Natalie Nougayrède has written an extraordinary piece in The Guardian, which hints that even if Donald Trump lifts US sanctions on Russia…

Angela Merkel will try to keep EU sanctions in place:

It’s expected that the first key test will play out in the Donbass. If Trump backtracks on sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, will the EU be able to maintain a common front? German officials privately hint this may create a transatlantic rift that they wouldn’t shy away from if Europe’s collective interests are deemed at stake. “We may need to go there” says one, quickly adding a lot will depend on the French presidential vote.

Nougayrède is a well-connected person, who was formerly executive editor and managing editor of Le Monde, and her writing does sometimes reflect fairly closely the opinions of senior EU officials. In this instance moreover she claims to have been told this by German officials, who presumably reflect Merkel’s thinking.

In reality the suggestion that the EU might persist with its anti-Russian sanctions if Trump lifts those of the US, is both breathtaking and delusional.  There is already widespread opposition to the sanctions, especially in southern Europe, and the idea that Angela Merkel, with or without French support, could single-handedly keep Europe in line on the sanctions even if a Trump led US reversed its position on them, is sheer fantasy.

It is to such fantasies that those in Europe who joined the ride of the anti-Russian campaign during Obama’s second term, and who invested all their hopes and ambitions in Hillary Clinton’s election, must now cling to.  Having surrendered to the US control of Europe’s foreign policy, if under Trump the US now reverses course, they will have no cards left to play, and will be obliged to follow suit.

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