French president Emmanuel Macron described the recent use of a nerve agent in Salisbury as an “attack on European sovereignty.” And in response to this, at least ten EU member states has announced they will be ordering Russian intelligence agents and diplomats to leave Europe. A number of countries, including Ireland, Germany, France and Poland have shown their support for the UK’s call to action, and more are expected to do so in the coming weeks.
Macron commented: “What happened in Great Britain has clearly never been seen before.” He went on to add that Moscow was “highly likely” to be responsible for the attack – an opinion which is shared by the majority of EU leaders. He added: “It is an aggression against the security and the sovereignty of an ally, today a member of the European Union, which demands a reaction.”
France and Germany were the first countries to back the UK. German chancellor Angela Merkel has shown her support for the French president’s decision. She added that there should be further action taken beyond the recall of the EU’s ambassador to Moscow. EU president Donald Tusk has also voiced his opinion that Russia had reached a level which the EU wouldn’t be able to tolerate. However, he noted that the decision to take action is up to individual leaders of member states.
Tusk said in a statement: “It is very difficult to prepare an adequate reaction to this kind of behaviour like a nerve agent attack. We will never have the real chance to respond adequately because we are completely different to the perpetrators of this attack, if you know what I mean. This is why I was focused yesterday on for me the most important political goal … to keep the whole community united as possible in this very dramatic moment and situation and we reached this goal”
He added: As a result of our decision yesterday I expect a number of member states will take additional measures against Russia on Monday. It is not the end of our actions. In these difficult circumstances I am personally especially pleased that despite the tough Brexit negotiations, the European Union has demonstrated unanimous and unequivocal unity with the UK in the face of this attack.”
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