"For far too long, the West has harbored illusions about Vladimir Putin’s Russia – illusions that have now been shattered on the Crimean peninsula. The West could (and should) have known better: Ever since his first term in office as Russian president, Putin’s strategic objective has been to rebuild Russia’s status as a global power.
Europeans have reason to be worried, and they now have to face the fact that the EU is not just a common market – a mere economic community – but a global player, a cohesive political unit with shared values and common security interests. Europe’s strategic and normative interests have thus re-emerged with a vengeance; in fact, Putin has managed, almost singlehandedly, to invigorate NATO with a new sense of purpose.
The EU peace project – the original impetus for European integration – may have worked too well; after more than six decades of success, it had come to be considered hopelessly outdated. Putin has provided a reality check. The question of peace in Europe has returned, and it must be answered by a strong and united EU."