Saturday

17th Feb 2018

US makes light of 'curse words' on EU

  • 'Toria' is known in Washington for her fiery temper (Photo: state.gov)

The US is trying to laugh off a leak in which it denigrates EU diplomacy on Ukraine, while blaming Russia for a "new low" in spy craft.

A state department spokesowman, Jen Psaki, on Thursday (6 February) indirectly confirmed the authenticity of the audio clip, posted on YouTube, in which its top official on Europe, Victoria Nuland, says “fuck the EU.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Psaki told press Nuland “has been in contact with her EU counterparts, and of course, has apologised.”

With Nuland taking aim at EU ineffectiveness on Ukraine, Psaki noted: “In every diplomatic relationship where you have small frustrations, where you agree, you disagree, you work through the issues, you talk about what the best step to take is.”

She added, in a joke, the expletive reflects Nuland’s personality rather than a “pervasive [US] viewpoint.”

“You all know Toria pretty well. You may know the story of how she lived on a Russian boat for about eight months when she was 23, and she learned how to perfect perhaps certain words … Russian curse words and curse words on the fishing boat,” Psaki said.

US media also had fun.

“Is it going to be the new rallying cry of the [European] bureau or of the state department itself? … Are you going to get t-shirts made with this phrase on it?” one reporter asked the US spokeswoman.

Psaki and her White House counterpart, Jim Carney, said they have no evidence of who bugged Nuland, but blamed Russia anyway.

Carney noted: “I would say that since the video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government, I think it says something about Russia’s role.”

Psaki added: “Certainly, we think this is a new low in Russian tradecraft in terms of publicising, posting.”

More seriously, Psaki defended Nuland’s remarks on US efforts to shape an interim government in Ukraine.

“That shouldn’t be a surprise. Of course, these things are being discussed. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s up to the people on the ground, it is up to the people of Ukraine to determine what the path forward is,” she said.

The same YouTube user posted a second clip of EU diplomats complaining about the US and indicating that the EU is secretly planning sanctions.

But for its part, the EU is saying nothing.

“We remain engaged with the people of Ukraine to overcome the current difficult situation. We do not comment on leaks, or, alleged leaks, of conversations,” an EU foreign service spokeswoman told EUobserver on Friday.

The leaks come at a tricky moment.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Nuland herself are in Kiev this week to tempt Ukraine’s almost-bankrupt President Viktor Yanukovych with financial aid in return for political concessions.

EU diplomats fear Russia will intervene more strongly in Ukraine after the Sochi Olympics end on 23 February, harming prospects for a deal.

One Ukrainian opposition activist, who asked to remain anonymous, told EUobserver the financial aid will be worth up to $35 billion and is to be administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, on the model of EU “troikas” which manage payments to bailed-out euro states.

But a Ukrainian diplomatic source said the figure sounds “unrealistic.”

The diplomatic contact noted that when Ashton met Yanukovych in Kiev on Wednesday, she spoke only of $15 billion in potential International Monetary Fund aid and €610 million ($825 million) in EU macro-financial assistance.

Ashton last weekend told the Wall Street Journal the EU and the US are working on a new “Ukrainian Plan,” raising expectations of a big amount.

The Ukrainian diplomatic source added that EU diplomats are rowing back on her statement.

“In my view, the EU does not have the money … Every day, they are trying to alleviate the Wall Street Journal comments,” the contact said.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  2. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  3. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  4. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  6. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  7. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  8. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  10. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  11. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  12. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  4. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  6. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  8. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC President Warns Europe as Holocaust Memory Fades
  10. European Free AlllianceNo Justice From the Spanish Supreme Court Ruling
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  12. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%