Two articles written by former prime minister of Belgium (1999-2008), Guy Verhofstadt, try to find reasons why Europe should act firmly against Kremlin´s action in the continent.
In the first article of Freburary this year entitled Putting Putin in his Place, Verhofstadt lists six crises that are shaking Europe in 2016: the regional caos caused by war in Syria, the possible departure of United Kingdom from EU, the increased refugees flux since World War II, economic challenges still unresolved, Russian expansionism and return of nationalism to the political agenda.
Author comments Putin has exarcebated at least for of these crises, with the exception of the war in Syria and economic problems in Europe. It isn´t surprise for Europeans that there is a penetration estrategy of Russia on the continent. This strategy has sought to coopt political allies from far-right, far-left and extreme nationalists with their anti-UE and pro-Russia agenda, mantaining the flow of easy money to seduce politicians and businessmen, supporting campaign for departure of UK from the bloc and more recently increasing the refugees flow through campaign in Syria. According to a NATO high-ranking general, Russians bombed civil areas with deliberated intention of leaving them no place of residence and increase the mass scape. The arrival of these imigrants heats up the debate on refugee crisis and reinforces the support of the electorate to European anti-imigrantion nationalists and Putin´s allies.
Verhofstadt also warned about the difficulty for Europeans to establish a common defense policy, he said a mistake. In NATO some coutries are spending less than 2% of the GDP in defense, minimun ratio requered by it´s members. The author sees a potential government of Donald Trump in US as a problem for defense of the continent, since the Republican presidential candidate have criticized the lack of financial commitment of members to the NATO, relapsing costs over Americans.