July 12th, 2014
03:56 PM ET

Bildt: EU, NATO expansion not reason for Ukraine tensions

Fareed speaks with former Swedish Prime Minster Carl Bildt, now the country’s foreign minister, about the recent tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

You don’t buy the argument, I notice from your speech, that the Europeans in some way are responsible – or NATO is responsible – because over the last 20 years the European Union and NATO have expanded to Russia's borders. This is, of course the Russian claim, made by Putin in various speeches.

I don't buy anything of that. I mean the reality of it is that Ukraine, for all of its problems – and they are fairly massive – has been throughout its period of independence, has been a democratic country. And it has itself expressed the wish to have free trade and closer cooperation with the rest of the European countries, notably in the European Union. And we have answered that particular call. It would have been very difficult to refuse the Ukrainians. We have, perhaps, done less than they wanted – they want a much clearer European perspective from us.

They have free trade with Russia. We have no objections to that. And we’re now giving them free trade with the European Union. So we have answered the wishes of the Ukrainian people and the Moldovans and the Georgians and others. And that’s the thing you do in order to try to help a democracy that is trying to build a better future.

And your argument is, in the speech, that the European Union and NATO similarly answered requests from the countries of Eastern Europe to join, rather than some kind of imperial expansion eastward?

Yes, absolutely. I mean the reality inside the European Union, sorry to say, is that enlargement and expansion and free trade of this particular sort isn’t necessarily that popular. You would find the same sentiment concerning free trade in the U.S. Congress. So it's been a fairly slow process of actually opening up to these countries, much slower than the Ukrainians or the Moldovans or Georgians have actually wanted.

But of course, we have an interest in the prosperity and the stability of our neighborhood. And to just close the door to the wishes of the Ukrainians for closer cooperation also with us – without in any way wanting to impair the economic and whatever other cultural relationship that they have with Russia – that would have been irresponsible and unthinkable.


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Topics: GPS Show • Russia • Ukraine

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    What does this Carl Bildt take us for, anyway? A bunch of absolute idiots? Of course, as anyone with half a brain knows, the ignominious expansions of both the EU and NATO is the heart of the problem with Ukraine!

    July 12, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      No, @ My Troll.
      I knew people who had prospered in Imperial Russia, so I heard first-hand stories of the glories of that society. There are living heirs to that throne, and I support any motion toward the restoration of Russia as it was before the catastrophic folly of communism.

      July 13, 2014 at 6:38 am |
      • Ivan Ivanovich

        The communists killed them all.

        July 14, 2014 at 12:37 am |
    • Tranquility base

      You are an A1 paid Russian troll. I see GPU on lots of comment board spouting the same tired rhetoric. You are laughable and tiresome.

      July 13, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
      • bradley

        This is the face of nazism. This is who the US is supporting in Ukraine. This man looks worse than Hitler. He looks bloody scary. Ethnic cleansing of ethnic Russians is being conducted and the US media are covering it up. If you want to help save lives please paste this nut jobs face all over the internet. Hitler has been reborn in this man. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOSVk_ym90I

        July 14, 2014 at 12:27 am |
      • Ivan Ivanovich

        Well said bradley. Thank you.

        July 14, 2014 at 2:00 am |
    • Curatica

      Absolutely. They instigated akin people to hating and killing each others.

      July 14, 2014 at 12:18 am |
    • Ivan Ivanovich

      Ukrainians want a life that is less Russian and more European.

      July 14, 2014 at 12:36 am |
      • bradley

        So they kill little old ladies and children for it. That is new Ukraine after the coup.....women and children killers. Soccer hooligans who have been given guns...what a recipe for disaster.

        July 14, 2014 at 2:24 am |
      • j. von hettlingen

        It's nothing wrong with Ukrainians' aspiration.
        The EU-enlargement would have been more successful, if the European Union could be divided into the Eastern and Western halves, like the Roman Empire. Brussels remains headquarters of Western EU and Vienna for the Eastern EU. Let the East and West sought out their own problems, before they join together into ONE big family.

        July 16, 2014 at 8:40 am |
  2. derss

    Carl Bildt is famous supporter for neo-Nazi movements, so no wonder he supports Ukraine's coup, their torch marches and their war against people of South-East of Ukraine: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s1usig

    July 13, 2014 at 2:45 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Good posting, derss. Thank you.

      July 13, 2014 at 10:08 am |
      • Ivan Ivanovich

        The only Neo-nazi is the one living in the Kremlin.

        July 14, 2014 at 12:38 am |
    • danR

      Nonsense. Not the slightest indication in his Wikipedia bio, or the talk page. He's right-moderate.

      July 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • bradley

        Bildt supports these nazis now conducting atrocities. he is the problem. I'm sure he's getting rich while women and children are dying. What a slime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lVavDFnn-o Video of atrocity committed by Ukrainian coup nazi army

        July 14, 2014 at 12:07 am |
      • danR

        @bradly raw propaganda bilge, straight out of the Soviet Era.

        July 14, 2014 at 8:59 am |
  3. George patton

    Only a stupid, crazy fool would put any credence in what this Neonazi Carl Bildt says!!! But then again, there are a lot of stupid people out there who do. This is how the Nazis gained control of Germany back in the 1930's!

    July 13, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • bradley

      You are 100% correct. Look at this video of a Right Sector Ukraimian army commander Oleg Lyashko torturing a prisoner and threatening him with death. A 62 year old man at that. And to think these nazis even film themselves while doing this stuff. Has the world gone bling as well as mad? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpdsOsF2xm0

      July 14, 2014 at 12:10 am |
    • Ivan Ivanovich

      You don't know much about Nazi Germany.

      July 14, 2014 at 12:39 am |
      • bradley

        I'm an ex- US marine who knows plenty about Germany having been there a few times.

        July 14, 2014 at 1:55 am |
      • danR

        @bradley. Oh sure you are. I'm a retired NSA signals analyst. Sure I am. Because I say so.

        July 14, 2014 at 9:01 am |
  4. josephsabater

    Carl Bildt, like Zbigniew Brzezinski, has a habit of uttering outrageous untruths as if they were indisputed facts. Remember Zbig declaring, "Make no mistake. This [neo-nazi led coup] is the legitimate government of Ukraine"?

    Bildt similarly asserts that the Ukrainian people have declared themselves willing to join the EU. Like Zbig he simply ignores the facts. Incidentally, an important fact that he ignores is that Europe is in no position to bail Ukraine out of its $19 billion debt. In fact Europe itself is increasingly on the verge of financial collapse.

    We can safely ignore whatever Bildt – or Dr. Brzezinski – tells us about the Ukraine-Russia situation.

    July 13, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • Ivan Ivanovich

      You read too much Russian propaganda. Russian propaganda is all lies.

      July 14, 2014 at 12:40 am |
  5. John

    Carl Bildt has a clear view of the situation. He's no fool.

    As for "George Patton" and "derss" and others like them, we know they work for the Russian government as part of its "special measures". Their victims are those who are gullible for anything that confirms their own fantasies about how the world is rather than hard truths that involve work and sacrifice to protect freedom.

    July 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • George patton

      Thanks, John. You make a good mouthpiece for the right-wing thugs in Washington!!!

      July 13, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
  6. mark

    Annexation of Ukraine as much as the US and the word talk of it being illegal, as you also talk on your show about Iraq annexing Kuwait was illegal. The Us should look into its own back yard so to speak. In 1993 the then president Bill Clinton apologized for the illegal overthrow of hawaii. Now please explain to me how Hawaii was legally annexed?

    "Political scientist Dr. Keanu Sai has completed doctoral research that is mainly focused on Hawaii’s continued existence as an independent and sovereign country, and has also had success in the Permanent Court of Arbitration concerning the dispute between the acting government of the Hawaiian Kingdom and a Hawaiian national."


    July 13, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • danR

      The purported illegality was based on the secretive Blount report which was largely refuted and thoroughly critiqued by the following Morgan report. Clinton is a classic liberal, and will follow any resolution for apology for percieved historical wrongs to ethnic minorities, regardless of the strengths or weaknesses of supporting 'evidence'.

      July 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
      • danR


        July 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
    • Ivan Ivanovich

      You shouldn't believe one crazy person. Do some credible research.

      July 14, 2014 at 12:42 am |
      • bradley

        Aw;;;;little ole Ivan only has one liners and not much else.........so sad....little boy should develop a brain and maybe he could type more than one liners.

        July 14, 2014 at 1:57 am |
  7. mark

    The Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that community and the United States. The purpose of this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) is to solicit public comments on whether and how the Department of the Interior should facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. Read More >


    July 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
  8. george george


    I am American of Eastern Eupoean origin ( actually Romanian) and I can not congralutae you as well as your guests for fairness and honesty.

    On the contrary, I see youre guess were bunch of liars including the Swedish Natorian,

    Concerning Ukcraine and Russia, one of the hottest subjects in town,

    Russia is not any more a danger for Eastern Europe, the REAL danger are the US necons as infmaous f..Victoira Nuland and all the like of her more infamous husband Kagan – by the way Kaganovici was Stalin deputy- the ideologue behind the Irak war).

    The actual State Department policies are the problem.They want, through conspiracy and crime, to move back the cloak of eliberation of Eastern Europeas from the economical genocide brought by wild capitalism, and implement the Irak's kind of chock terapy in Eastern Europe, read Milton Friedman shock terapy, o the crooky monopolies can steal everything from the people who was decimated by the Communits. They put in now power the grandsons and grand daughters of former killers durind Stalin terror.

    Sorry for true Ukrainian patriots, they are screwed up again..

    Contemporary Ukraine is a false state which include several foreign provinces ( Eastern Poland, Romanian Bukovina and Sothern Bessarabia, Weestern Russia and Russian Krimea ).


    July 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • George patton

      Good post, george george. Quite a contrast to all these brainless anti-Russian idiots here, none of whom ever graduated from High School!

      July 13, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • Ivan Ivanovich

        I learned a lot from Russian teachers who are doctors who taught at the Moscow State University. They did research on different aspects of Russian society. They even predicted the end of the Soviet Union 12 years before it happened. They know more about Russia than you do. You have read too much Russian propaganda. You should learn the truth.

        July 14, 2014 at 12:50 am |
      • Ivan Ivanovich

        Whose the right-wing fool who usurped my screen name? I never made any of these idiotic anti-Russian comments here. Some jerk is trying to me me look stupid. Moreover, I agree with George above!

        July 14, 2014 at 2:04 am |
    • Ivan Ivanovich


      July 14, 2014 at 12:44 am |
  9. danR

    Why does Vladimir Putrid feel his Kremlin shiIIs en masse should spray their liquid manure over every story about the Ukraine?

    July 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
    • Tranquility base

      I know. Becusse if the truth gets out, if they know what is really happening and they have free press, they would hang Putin in the public square. They are arguing in a vacuum and they think that by massing people on comment boards they are winning. They feel better about themselves. But the truth is they are a scared tiresome bunch. Many I know here no longer frequent these boards, but they know what is happening. We read the articles and laugght at RT and itar Tass and all Russian owned media. You can pick out these guys in a heartbeat. They use words like fascist, junta, Yankee and neo. You will rarely near those words ever initiated by western media...those are Russian propaganda terms that have not been used in years in the west.

      But that is ultimately why.

      July 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
      • bradley

        Link to CNN article explaining who is killing civilians, what the civilian population thinks of you nazis and how many civilians have fled from you murdering Orcs. CNN says a half million people have taken refuge in Russia. This is CNN not RT...claiming that you in Kiev are the problem. Get it. I hope so because everyone is tired of your covering up for atrocities. You are pathetic.


        July 14, 2014 at 2:18 am |
      • danR

        @bradley. Thanks for citing something a little better than youTube 'evidence'. Is there anything more you'd like to learn from CNN?

        July 14, 2014 at 9:06 am |
  10. chri§§y

    I graduated from high school and U of M @ George Patton thank you very much! What does that have to do with liking the Russian government?

    July 13, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
  11. bradley

    For people wondering if the new coup Kiev government really is full of nazis I say check out their Right sector military commanders. You will see that they are nazis and are committing atrocities across the countryside. They are killing women, children, the elderly, moms and dads and even pets. They are monsters and the US has financed this madness in the heart of Europe. People need to wake up! Ukraine's west is a fascist nightmare. The East are the good guys. The west is full of those Orcs that conducted the Maidan riots. They violently overthrew the elected government with the backing of the EUSA and now they are killing the people of the East that held an election to separate from them. One group uses the violence and the US urges restraint against them from the former government....the other group holds a peaceful referendum and the US condones killing them. What kind of madness is that. Women and elderly people voted in that referendum to separate from these psychos but the US lets the psychos loose on them. It is pure horror and I call them Orcs because they really are like something from the bowels of the earth. This video shows 45 minutes of straight atrocities by these monsters...including the dumping of bodies and multiple murders of civilians. Judge for yourself what kind of Pandora's box the US financed and opened along with Carl Bildt's horrible self. You won't see this on American TV that's for sure.


    July 14, 2014 at 12:21 am |
    • Ivan Ivanovich

      More Russian propaganda. Do some people in Russia not have a brain? I took two Russian women from Moscow on an excursion today. They seem to be normal kind people.

      July 14, 2014 at 12:52 am |
  12. Free press in the west?

    Look at this youtube video. This is why people in the east don't want to be with the west of ukraine. And yes we in the us and eu are backing the west of ukraine. How crazy can it be!!!

    Украина Кризис Сегодня [Ukraine Crisis Today]. Ба…: http://youtu.be/nJLtaKrd9CU

    July 14, 2014 at 1:17 am |
  13. bradley

    This video shows the shelling of civilians by the Kiev coup junta....it is very disturbing to watch these poor old women who's husbands have been killed and homes are destroyed. Their lives are over....thanks to the US and EU backing these nazi monsters. It is pure horror and Obama financed this crap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfCJm34EsKc#t=478

    July 14, 2014 at 1:47 am |
    • Marine5484

      Thank you, bradley. Too bad most people are just too ignorant to see that. Barack Obama himself needs to be indicted and brought to justice for misusing our hard earned tax money to finance this horrific Petro Poroshenko and his cohorts! The whole thing makes me sick!

      July 14, 2014 at 2:09 am |
      • bradley

        Totally agree devil dog. Semper fi. I'm an ex-marine myself, 0341, 1st battalion, 6th marines, 2nd mar div 85-88 Did a NATO/Med cruise on the Saipan and a West Pac. Glad to see that other US military personnel can see through this BS. That is what being a true American is all about.

        July 14, 2014 at 2:20 am |
      • Ivan Ivanovich

        As the true Ivan Ivanovich here, I totally agree. Then again, as a true Russian, I tend to say anything to defend my country. I can't get over just some uneducated fools here tend to bash my compatriots and take up for those noe-Nazis in Kiev funded with American tax money!

        July 14, 2014 at 2:30 am |
      • ,,

        you're both too dumb to have been marines.

        July 14, 2014 at 6:34 am |
      • danR

        @bradley. You know you're dealing with a phony when they throw a string of credential-words that cannot be matched against a real person. "Methinks the lady doth protest overmuch." –Shakespeare.

        Tell Vladolph Putler he's an @zzh0le, next time you see him.

        July 14, 2014 at 9:10 am |
  14. june fitzgerald

    2/22/14 #euromaidan twitter account summoned 25,000 bat party (Tymoshenko/ Yatsenyuk) menbers & young protesters to overthrown the ukrainian government & President Yanukovich when he didn't sign an agreement with the EU. Ukraine didn't invent twitter, the US did. The EU had given Yanukovich papers to sign and led Ukrainians to belive in a rosy life with the EU. So they finally signed up via Poroshenko. How rosy is life there now? US & EU capitalistic exploitation of Ukraine is the cause of the problems.

    July 14, 2014 at 4:58 am |
  15. EU - NATO

    EU – NATO must have the geopolitical vision to embrace Yugoslavia in EU-NATO and TURKEY in EU. That way there would be the greatest free trade zone, that would bring many benefits for economy, business, new jobs, new opportunities, peace, development and international trade.

    July 14, 2014 at 5:05 am |
    • George patton

      Good grief, another mouthpiece for the right-wing thugs in Washington! How many idiots can there be on this web page to fall for all that right-wing propaganda?

      July 14, 2014 at 9:56 am |
  16. Helena

    I just find it strange that western media keep thinking that they will get a sober opinion about Russia from Carl Bildt. The man is the biggest hawk you can find in swedish politics when it comes to the topic of Russia, and this has nothing to do with the Putin-regime, Carl Bildt has always been very anti-Russia and exteamly pro-USA pro-NATO throughout his time in politics. On top of that, anyone that have ever bothered to pick up a historybook will quickly find out that historicly Sweden and Russia has not exactly been the best of friend, rather the opposite, and we are not talking about a couple of wars, we are talking about a millenia of hostility.

    July 14, 2014 at 7:17 am |
  17. chri§§y

    Lol you can certainly tell in here that school is out for vacation!

    July 14, 2014 at 9:48 am |
  18. bradley

    Carl Bildt is everything that is wrong with Sweden and the EU. He is out to get paid from the US and that is it....even if he has to sacrifice innocent people or even his own people to do it. Simply put ....he is a murdering snake.

    July 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
  19. Helena

    I´m a swede and I for one have never been a fan of my countrys current foreign minister or the current center-right government, with any luck they will all be out of a job come the autumn-election. More over, I am among the vast majority of swedes who do not want to see Sweden joning NATO. Sweden is an alliance-free country and should remain so. Our neutrality have served our country very well, it has kept us in a state of peace for the past 200 years now. The last time Sweden were in a state of war was back in 1814.

    July 15, 2014 at 6:42 am |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Let's all hope you're right about your country's elections this coming fall. Like our country, yours can't use these right-wing fanatics who ruin everything just like Adolf Hitler did Germany in 1945!

      July 15, 2014 at 11:08 am |
  20. Leekim

    Putin scares you right ...not us Norwegians ...I want us out of NATO because the U.S. is incompetant and on the way down fast.....The U.S. won't be there for us and that's OK because we will buy a nuke someday. Hopefully. Look at you Americans so screwed up. NSA, IRA, Bengazi and immigration unemployment and jobless. You can't wipe your own ass why should we trust you ? Putin can do just what he wants too .....Let see the U.S. start another war it can't finish. LOL....

    July 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Well said, Leekim. Thank you.

      July 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
  21. Kerry Yelder

    Bus do Niemiec


    January 30, 2017 at 11:58 am |
  22. Chas Passarelli


    January 10, 2021 at 7:09 am |

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