Europe's economic health and strength lies in the European Union(EU). The continent's security is protected by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO). Yet, a rift into the EU's solidarity and unanimity appears to have opened - caused by grumblings from the newly elected leftists in Greece that could pull other previously quiet disgruntled members of the EU into dissent. And the only party to benefit from any fissures in Europe, is Russia.
But the situation in Europe is not dire. The new leftists in Greece have now explained that they not necessarily want to veto any additional sanctions on Russia, but hoped for respect and consultation from the big players of the union on matters before they become public.
The question as to unanimity of the EU, which 28-members have veto power, surfaced yesterday following reports that the union had unanimously consented to study further sanctions on Russia for its meddling in Ukraine. The Greek government claimed it was never informed or consulted on the publicized pending action. And against a background of comments made by Greece's Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who according to a Reuters report, said Athens was against sanctions on Russia because Greece "had no differences with Russia", sent ripples of a possible Greek dissent throughout the union.
But earlier today, Greece's new Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis, as reported by Reuters, sought to clear the air and he rejected suggestions that complaints from Greece regarding an EU statement on Ukraine meant Greece was preparing to veto sanctions against Russia. He said the Greek position was distorted by media reports and that the complaint made by Athens to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini of Italy, had been about a lack of consultation, not about the sanctions themselves, Reuters reported.
The current financial and economic condition of Greece suggest that Greece would not want to pull against the unanimity of the EU. Anything short of full support to the EU from Greece would adversely effect Greece's chances of ameliorating many of the austerity policies it hopes to renegotiate with the union.
On the other hand, should Greece seek to appease Russia and act to block sanctions upon the Kremlin, Greece would be compromising its chances to economic recovery, while according Russia an addition market to mockery of the EU. Moreover, any dissension from Greece could embolden other EU nations whose economies have lost revenue because of sanctions on Russian and reciprocal Russian bans on imports.
Today, EU foreign ministers are expected to ask the EU Commission to ready new sanctions on Russia for its continued meddling in Ukraine. Any hesitations as to unanimity by the EU on this policy could severely widen a small fissure of dissent within the union.