Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Greece, Banking Union, And Putin Dominate This Week
Via EUobserver: In his first meeting with EU leaders since violent anti-government protests began in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Brussels. This was the 32nd EU-Russia summit, with the volatile situation in Ukraine to be the elephant in the room. Russia's offer to Ukraine of a $15 billion loan and gas price reductions still remains on the table, even if the new government is run by the opposition. But Putin also warned that Russia would closely monitor Ukraine's economic policies to make sure it gets its money back. Relations between Moscow and Brussels have been strained since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's decision in November to turn his back on a trade and political agreement with the EU in favor of closer trade ties with Russia. Although Yanukovych was rewarded with an €11 billion bailout from Russia, the move has sparked weeks of pro-EU demonstrations in Kiev during which a handful of protesters have been killed.