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Cablegate: Ambassador's Meeting with Eu Commissioner Olli Rehn

VZCZCXRO8092
RR RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHHE #0553/01 2011037
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201037Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3594
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0118
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 0033
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 4796
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 4726
RUEHRK/AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK 0327
RUEHMO/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 0143
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0069
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA 0033

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HELSINKI 000553

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL EUN UN TU FI YI
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH EU COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN


Classified By: POLITICAL CHIEF GREGORY THOME FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D
)

1. (C) Summary: EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn
told Ambassador Ware that French President Sarkozy's
opposition will complicate Turkey's EU accession bid, but
does not necessarily need to derail it if the EU manages
the process carefully. Rehn was pessimistic about
Kosovo, and very disappointed in the Serb leadership's
failure to realize that Russia's cynical handling of the
UNSCR process is directly contrary to Serbia's long term
interests. He predicted that the US and each EU member
state will ultimately be forced to make a decision about
unilaterally recognizing Kosovo's independence. EU
unanimity on recognition will not be possible, but
recognition "by the US and 15-20 member states" will be
necessary in order to demonstrate to Russia that it
cannot "dictate Europe's security policy." Rehn expressed
appreciation for US efforts to promote EU unity on Kosovo,
noting that our leverage with Romania could be useful.
End Summary.

2. (U) Ambassador Ware and PolChief met with EU
Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn July 19 on the
margins of the "Finland Arena," a gathering of Finnish
political leaders that takes place annually on the
margins of the world famous Pori Jazz Festival.

MANAGING TURKEY. . .AND MANAGING SARKOZY
----------------------------------------
3. (C) Rehn suggested that Turkey's July 22 election
could have an "unpredictable" effect on Turkey's troubled
EU accession process. The AKP remains the best bet for
keeping reforms on track, and one-party governments -- as
opposed to coalitions -- tend to have the best record,
both on reform and in managing domestic expectations.
One troubling aspect, he added, is that the rapidly growing
youth vote in Turkey is divided, and there are no clear
leaders emerging.

4. (C) Turning to the EU's role, Rehn emphasized that the
Council-approved policies currently in place regarding
Turkey's accession process will not change -- despite
clear messages from President Sarkozy suggesting
otherwise. That said, Sarkozy promised the French
electorate he would seek to slow or even halt Turkey's
bid, and "one should not underestimate his determination"
to deliver on them. Rehn outlined one possible solution:
The EU may ultimately need to draft new conclusions that
allow Sarkozy to say to the French public, "I've
introduced 'privileged partnership' to the EU
discussion." At the same time, those conclusion's "fine
print" would have to include language that allows the
Turks to say that if they stay on track, they still have
some control over their long term EU prospects. "It's
not very elegant," Rehn smiled, "but that's how the EU
works."

KOSOVO: RUSSIA'S GAME IS SIMPLE
-------------------------------
5. (C) Turning to the Balkans, Rehn reluctantly predicted
that Moscow, will probably never allow a UNSCR mandating
Kosovo's independence to move forward. "Russia's UN
strategy is very simple," he explained. "If Kosovo is
resolved, Serbia is relieved of the burden of relying on
Russia and thus can immediately put itself on the faster
road to the EU." Russia is determined not to lose its
client relationship with Serbia, and will veto a Kosovo
UNSCR on that basis alone. Russia's stance on Kosovo has
everything to do with Russia's own interests, nothing
really to do with Kosovo, and -- perhaps worst of all --
runs directly counter to Serbia's long-term interests,
Rehn continued. Unfortunately, most of the Serb
leadership, including the Foreign and Prime ministers,
cannot or will not grasp this reality, and
President Tadic -- who does understand it -- "doesn't
have the guts or the tools" to move Serbia away from
Russia and toward the West.

6. (C) For now, EU unity behind Ahtisaari's proposals has
been shaken a bit, but remains intact. However, he
warned, if a UNSCR on Kosovo fails to emerge following a
brief period of additional negotiations, all bets on EU
unity are off. He singled out Romania as being

HELSINKI 00000553 002 OF 002


particularly susceptible to Russia's shop-worn arguments
about setting an international precedent on ethnic
minorities, and suggested that the US could play a helpful
role in convincing Bucharest otherwise. Rehn also suggested
that while Chancellor Merkel remained committed, the German
Parliament might move in a different direction absent a UNSCR.

UNILATERAL RECOGNITION
----------------------
7. (C) In the medium term, Rehn said that the US and the
EU still need to try to show the Serbs that Russia is not
acting in their country's best interests. However, in
the long term, the US and the 27 EU MS will need to face
the reality of unilaterally recognizing Kosovo's
independence. If, after four months, Moscow remains
obstructionist, "we have to be prepared to say to Russia
that it cannot dictate Europe's security policy."
Unanimity among the 27 will not be possible, Rehn added,
but we can still send a clear message to Russia if "the
US and 15 to 20 member states" unilaterally recognize
Kosovo. EU unanimity will, however, again be crucial on
the issue of a post-independence ESDP mission for Kosovo,
because "a coalition of the willing with no full EU
mandate would be a disaster," Rehn said.
WARE

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