With the recent rise of tensions in the Azov Sea, Russia-EU relations seem to have reached a new low after the Salisbury attack. However, some European political parties, and notably the so-called populist movements, have often called for a sanction lift or a review and for an increased dialogue with Moscow.
While the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine seems to have resulted in a temporary consolidation of the European front, it is reasonable to think that we will not have to wait long before new pro-Russian stances will surface again.
On December 13, 2018, the summit of the European Council did not consider further sanctions against Russia . The expected rollover of existing sanctions without any increase and the debates around this decision reveal a lack of consensus on the matter within the European Union. While no member country has expressed the will to veto an extension of sanctions yet, some begin to wonder if it may not be only a matter of time.
More importantly, it is becoming increasingly necessary to understand what the motivations of the populist parties of Europe in aligning with Russia are, and which consequences it may produce on the future of the European Union. Russia’s lobby campaign in Western Europe has been defined as an extension of his hybrid warfare. However, it must be noted that Moscow did not have to break down the door or even knock it to get into Europe; rather, it found the door already open and was invited in with loud and clear calls.