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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » January 21, 2009
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From the Editor-in-Chief
January 21, 2009   
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This is not the first time that a Russian-Ukrainian clash over natural gas is making the headlines. But this latest showdown poses a threat to several other countries and is causing a major conflict in Europe.

After the recent crisis in Georgia, this is yet another example of tension triggered by Russia. This time, however, European Union members are not outside observers but the victims themselves. As a result, the EU has been forced to take action, analyze the problem in depth, and draw the right conclusions.

The latest crisis will show the real value of Russia and Ukraine as political and economic partners for the rest of Europe. It will also test the EU's ability to cope with political and economic challenges. The Czech Republic, which assumed the rotating presidency of the EU Jan. 1, will have to deal with these challenges, but the same is true of the European community as a whole.

For now EU officials have failed to display the required skills. They have been unable to explain the core of the conflict or mediate effectively between the parties involved-to make sure that Russia and Ukraine meet their obligations toward EU members. Finally, the EU has failed to ensure the security of energy supply for its member states.

But sometimes a negative experience can be more useful than a positive one. The latest gas crisis has laid bare some key weaknesses of the EU. Perhaps we will thank Moscow and Kiev for that one day.
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