BRUSSELS, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- NATO's move to resume talks with Russia shows the increasingly key role the European Union is taking in setting the West's agenda with Moscow, analysts say.
EU leaders have expressed skepticism at NATO saber-rattling in the wake of Russia's conflict with Georgia this year and have also been wary of a confrontational approach taken by the Bush administration toward Moscow, Time Magazine reported Saturday.
NATO's move this week to restore ties with Russia is being seen as a victory for the EU view that the West must work closely with Moscow, analysts told the magazine.
"With the Bush administration now the lamest of lame ducks, the NATO agreement reflect desires in Europe to avoid offending Russia -- especially on topics like Georgian and Ukrainian membership that many European leaders feel is an unnecessary provocation of Moscow," Andrew Wilson, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London, told Time. "The U.S. didn't really push too hard on the membership issue, because it knew it couldn't win."
At the NATO summit that ended Wednesday in Brussels, it was agreed to resume high-level relations with Moscow through a "measured and phased approach" to restoring ties.