Former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Nile Gardiner, criticised the EU for its “hugely disappointing” response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that they still buy “huge amounts of Russian energy”. Earlier in April, it was revealed that the EU has paid €35 billion for Russian energy since the start of the war, compared to the €1 billion it has sent to Ukraine in the form of foreign aid.
The European Commission has pledged to cut its use of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of 2022, with the longer-term goal of ending its reliance on Russian energy entirely by 2030.
The EU imports about 40 percent of its gas from Russia and 27 percent of its oil.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Gardiner said: “I think the Germans have been absolutely useless on Ukraine.
“They have appeased Putin’s Russia for several decades.
“Some of the messaging from berlin is a bit more robust today than it was but if you compare the Germans to what the British are doing, there’s no comparison.
“And clearly, president Zelensky and Ukraine think that Germany’s overall approach has been nothing less than appalling.
“Germany remains stuck in an appeasement mindset towards Moscow.
“So does France and so does much of the EU ruling elite.”
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for an all-out embargo on Russian energy, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has voiced his opposition to the plans, saying that doing it too quickly would cause a European recession.
Speaking to the Bundestag, he said: “We will end this dependence [on Russian oil, coal and gas] as quickly as we can, but to do that from one day to the next would mean plunging our country and all of Europe into a recession.”
Contrasting the EU’s approach to that of the UK, Mr Gardiner said: “Whereas Brexit Britain is really standing up to Russia alongside Poland and the Baltic states and some of the eastern and central European countries.
“And if you look at what western Europe is doing, it isn’t significantly different to what it was before the invasion.
“And that’s hugely disappointing really.”
The UK has pledged to phase out imports of Russian oil products by the end of 2022 and is considering banning gas imports.
Russian gas accounts for about 4 percent of the UK’s gas supply.