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The Czechs may have botched the Russia-Ukraine energy crisis, but it will be the EU, not Russia, that wins in the long run. Plus, how a toilet sparked a diplomatic incident

By Manneken Pis   February 2009

Russia overplays its hand

Within the EU, France is not renowned for modesty. Its officials could barely conceal their delight at the success of the country’s presidency that ended on 31st December. Now, a few weeks after handing over to the Czechs, the French are more smug than ever. Within days of taking charge, Prague’s official EU mission to mediate in the Gaza conflict was eclipsed by Nicolas Sarkozy’s. The Czechs may be forgiven for lack of middle-eastern expertise, but they are supposed to know about Russia. Yet frenzied diplomacy from Czech premier Mirek Topolánek, failed to solve the Russia-Ukraine…

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