PTC Open John on These are unusually dangerous times in the historically uneasy EU-Russia relationship.
An open confrontation is underway between Vladimir Putin and Brussels. Moscow, burdened by sanctions, is trying to exploit vulnerabilities in several EU member states.
At this EPP Group hearing voices are proclaiming, ever louder, that an aggressive new form of Cold War is back…and back with a vengeance.
John off The latest crisis concerns growing ties between Russia and bankruptcy-threatened EU member Greece, the country that set off the initial Cold War in the late 1940s.
With Greece showing interest in signing up to Russia's Turkish Stream pipeline project, EU common determination to rely less on Russian oil and gas is again being challenged, this time from within.
Parliament's Rapporteur on Russia, EPP Group MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis, says both the Greek and Ukrainian crises are strengthening, not cracking, the resolve of the EU alliance.
EPP Group MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis. Landsbergis on
03:22 - 03:38
I agree with those who say that Europe already has already shown that it because stronger, that we learned some lessons posed by Putin posed to the European Union. I think that if we hold up we´ll become more united but a stronger and more resilient union.
John off Meanwhile Ukraine's bid for closer cooperation with the EU has long since been hijacked by the Kremlin's agreement-breaking military manoeuvres in the region.
James Sherr, Russia specialist of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, says Russia will do everything in its power to protect its historic regional interests in Ukraine.
James Sherr, Chatham House, UK. Sherr on
01:32 - 01:58 As long as the Russians feel that they are able, that they are advancing in securing their objectives, which are the enfeeblement and destabilisation of Ukraine and the re-formatting of the European security order, they will keep doing what they are doing.
John off Putin's financial support for extreme Eurosceptic parties is also of grave concern as these parties are nationalistic and xenophobic - mirror images of Putin's Russia.
Analysts like Sher said this covert and semi-covert financing may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Chatham House Sher on
04:38 - 05:05 I suspect that if and when there is a sea change in Russia and the current system of power is replaced by another and we find out exactly what has been going on, we will discover that Russia´s investment in anti-EU parties in the EU and anti-western movements in the West has been much deeper, more extensive and has been going on for a far longer period of time than we thought.
Stand-up John on Rules and values-based Europeans who once hoped for a Russian democratic transformation to democracy have been bitterly disappointed— indeed blindsided — by the Kremlin's divide and conquer tactics.
Russian patronage and power games again have the EU circling its wagons, trying hard to anticipate or hinder the next Kremlin assault on its fragile unity.
Find out more about the activities of Parliament's largest political force by going to eppgroup.eu. Thanks for looking in and see you again soon.
This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and radio use. It is restricted for use for other purposes.