Worlds Apart

‘You need Russia if you want peace in the Middle East’ – ex-Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel

Austria’s former chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel discusses the Transatlantic relationship in light of the US threat to trade and secondary sanctions on Iran, and whether Russia can seize the moment to improve relations with Europe.

“Russia is a major partner for peace and security. Also, if you want to have peace in the Middle East, you’ll need Russia as a respected partner and constructive partner,” Schuessel says. Although Europe sees Moscow that way, the former chancellor says the sides should settle the crisis in Eastern Ukraine first. “The most important thing now is to preserve the ceasefire, the second thing is we should work together on how to improve the economic situation.”

“As soon as we solve these problems, gradually and step by step we could come back to the older ideas of an all-European house,” Schuessel adds.

In the meantime, the EU needs “to stand up against” Washington threatening the economic and political interests of the bloc. As European companies risk becoming subject to US sanctions after Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Schuessel says they can challenge the decision through international organisations, such as the UN and the World Trade Organization.