In an article published in the Dutch weekly Elsevier, Bolkestein argues that the current Western sanctions, imposed against Russia for annexing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and waging a covert war against the country in its eastern regions, cannot be sustained. Instead, he says, European and American leaders should organize a conference with Vladimir Putin in order to confirm the Crimea‘s status as part of Russia and settle the federalization of Ukraine. Moreover, the conference, Bolkestein says, should reaffirm the sovereignty of the Baltic states.
He makes a reference to the Yalta Conference, a meeting of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1945. During the meeting, the leaders of the winning powers of World War Two settled the post-war order and, among other things, confirmed the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states and domination in Eastern Europe.
“Seventy years ago, there was a conference in Yalta, attended by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. Maybe it’s time for a second Yalta conference, which would have to follow up on the results of Minsk. Yalta II should reaffirm the sovereignty of the Baltic republics, to accept the new status of Crimea and regulate the federal character of Ukraine,” Bolkestein writes, in Dutch.
In the article Bolkestein also argues that NATO’s expansion in the 1990s and 2000s to include the Baltic states and other Central European nations was a mistake.
Bolkelstein, who is retired now, was the leader of the liberal VVD party, currently the biggest ruling party in the Dutch parliament. He was a member of the Dutch parliament in the 1970s through the 1990s and at one point served as the minister of defence. In 1999-2004 he was the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. Before entering politics, Bolkelstein worked for the oil company Royal Dutch Shell.