European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (R) poses with Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 28, 2014 prior an EU-Russia summit at the EU Headquarters in Brussels."The EU needs "to clear the air" with Russia at this summit as sharp differences over the Ukraine crisis and eastern Europe test relations", a senior EU official said. AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP)

Durão Barroso warns: “We can’t exclude anything with Putin”

In a fascinating interview with former European Commission president Durão Barroso in Expresso this week, the one-time PSD prime minister of Portugal explains that the West sorely underestimated Russian president Vladimir Putin. “We didn’t take him seriously”, Barroso tells his interviewer, stressing “the danger of an escalation” in the current military conflict is real – and we truly cannot exclude anything when it comes to what the Russian president might do. Worth reading for those who can read Portuguese, the reflections come from a former mover and shaker who met with Putin no less than 25 times during his years at the helm of Europe. No matter what one may think about Durão Barroso, he has probably formed a clearer picture of Vladimir Putin, and what makes him tick, than any of the current politicians grappling to cope with events as they rapidly develop today.