A majority of EU Member States, in response to the Skripal case, have expelled Russian diplomatic intelligence officials from their countries, thereby expressing their solidarity with Britain. Unfortunately, ten countries are not participating in the European action: Austria, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belgium and Portugal.
MEP Sven Giegold, spokesperson of the German Green MEPs in the European Parliament commented:
“Many countries that turn their backs on EU’s Russia policy are under the influence of dirty money from Russia. The division of Europe is based on inglorious individual interests vis-à-vis Russia. Cyprus, Austria, Bulgaria and Greece seem to attach more importance to Russian black money than to a common European position. Malta, Cyprus and Portugal make substantial profits with visa programmes for Russian citizens. Hundreds of Russian citizens have been able to buy an EU passport including civil rights and thus also political influence in Europe. The Austrian ruling party FPÖ has signed a friendship agreement with Putin’s party. As the country of the next EU Council Presidency, Austria does not live up to its European obligations. Tsipras has long flirted with Putin’s Russia in the hope of investment that the rest of Europe refuses. Slovakia is highly dependent on Russian gas.
Europe is giving a bad picture of its Russia policy. Europe can only be effective at international level if it acts together. The ten countries should commit themselves to European values instead of being seduced by Russian money. The current division must be a wake-up call to end any naivety towards harmful political influence by Russian money. It is also clear that we need a European law against the sale of European civil rights and must multiply the fight against money laundering.”