Who is culpable in the EU for Ukraine’s defection to Russia?

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, (on the right), Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council (second from right), Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania and President in office of the Council of the EU, and Angela Merkel, German Chancellor (on the left). They all participated in the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. (EC Audiovisual Services 29/11/2013).

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, (on the right), Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council (second from right), Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania and President in office of the Council of the EU, and Angela Merkel, German Chancellor (on the left). They all participated in the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, pictured here smiling but understandably not happy. (EC Audiovisual Services 29/11/2013).

The 350,000 to 500,000 people who protested yesterday, even violently at times, in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, belonged, theoretically, to the three opposition parties, which had organised the rally. Unquestionably however, all Ukrainians believe that President Viktor Yanukovich – who decided at the last minute to turn down an Association Agreement with the EU – had succumbed to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats and promises.

It’s also true that the Ukrainian President chose instead to join the Moscow led Eurasian Union (EAU) because the democratic procedures are not at their best there, a reality that will allow him to use all the tricks he knows, to win the next election in 2015. By choosing EUA in the place of EU, he can also keep in jail the former Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko, possibly his most important opponent in that electoral confrontation. The Brussels’ demand that Tymoshenko should be freed and allowed to travel to Germany was probably the extra condition set by the West, that made Yanucovich change sides at the very last-minute.

A divided country

It’s not only that though. Ukraine is a deeply divided country. The European Sting writer Suzan A. Kane stressed even since 19 November, one week ahead of Ukraine’s U-turn that the “The River Dnieper is so wide that it actually divides Ukraine not only in two distinct geographical areas, but in two widely differing parts. Even the Orthodox church of Ukraine is divided in two, the eastern part belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate and the other part to the Kyiv Patriarchate”. The majority of the inhabitants of the three eastern regions consider Moscow as their closest ally, while it’s quite the opposite for the citizens of the three western provinces.

Given all that yesterday’s huge Kiev demonstration of hundreds of thousands of citizens supporting the Western option for their country and demanding the government to resign over this last-minute change of camps was quite predictable. That’s why the government had prepared a strong ‘law and order’ answer to the protesters. Extended use of tear gas and stun grenades was made by the extra security forces, which were called in by the Ministry of Interior. The largely unneeded violence used by police and other paramilitary forces evoked strong reactions all over the West.

High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle, responsible for EU’s Eastern Partnership issued a joint statement on last night’s events in Ukraine. It went like “The European Union strongly condemns the excessive use of force last night by the police in Kyiv to disperse peaceful protesters, who over the last days in a strong and unprecedented manner have expressed their support for Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius has also expressed grave concern about the overnight events in Ukraine. Lithuania holds the EU Council Presidency during the second half of 2013. Linkevičius stressed that the “Use of force against peaceful protesters in the centre of Kiev is reprehensible. We urge the Ukrainian government to respect human rights and ensure compliance with the principles of the rule of law. We are carefully following the events in Ukraine”.

Who is to be blamed?

Turn and twist it as the European Union may, this totally unexpected full U-turn in Yanucovich’s foreign policy options, is a major blow to Brussel’s Eastern Partnership strategy, designed to incorporate six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). As it turns out, this strategy which started as an initiative of a few northern EU countries like Poland and Sweden was caught in the Brussels decision-making machine, and was drastically deformed.

Understandably, the initial Eastern Partnership proposal, when it reached Brussels, was deprived of a large part of its economic and political content. As a result, it was turned down by Armenia even from last summer. Yerevan was first to join Moscow’s Eurasian Union. Kiev’s decision left the EU only with Moldova and Georgia to sign its Eastern Partnership proposal. Both of them, though, have their territories severely contested by Russia.

As for Azerbaijan and Belarus, only the first one could ever contemplate to sign such an agreement with the EU. The problem is, however, if the EU would accept to cooperate closely with a regime that governs this country with an iron hand, perpetuating itself with murder and persecution against any real opposition. The Brussels bureaucracy has to be blamed for the inclusion of Azerbaijan in the EU’s Eastern Partnership strategy, giving it a character of old-time European cynicism. It is as if the EU is using whatever means to achieve its goals.

In short, the EU internal decision-making machine, strongly influenced by Berlin, has to be blamed for the failure of this well conceived but ill executed Eastern Partnership strategy.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit Preparedness: European Commission adopts final set of “no-deal” contingency measures for Erasmus+ students, social security coordination rules and the EU budget

The journey begins – 2021 is the European Year of Rail!

Three experts on why eradicating plastic pollution will help achieve gender equality

Informal meeting of heads of state or government, Sibiu, 09/05/2019

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into public support for expansion of LG Chem’s electric vehicles battery plant in Poland

Rising number of young people excluded from jobs, education and training

Iran protests: Live ammunition reportedly used, says UN human rights office

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €5.6 billion out of €6 billion now allocated in support of refugees

Forget 2009, this is the real credit crisis of our time

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and their challenges

EU Visa Policy: Commission welcomes agreement to strengthen EU visa rules

How to unleash the potential of regions like São Paulo

A comprehensive strategy for Eurozone’s long term growth gains momentum

US-EU trade negotiations: pointless tariffs against real economic growth

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Major UN aid operation for 650,000 gets underway across Syria-Jordan border

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

How powering food storage could end hunger

What are antibody tests and can they get the world back to work?

Education should be like everything else. An on-demand service

A new European banking space is born this year

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

JADE Spring Meeting 2016 highlights

European research priorities for 2021-2027 agreed with member states

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

Parliament demands ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in the EU

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part II)

We need to rethink cybersecurity for a post-pandemic world. Here’s how

COVID-19 amplifies inequality. Fight back with long-term thinking

How COVID-19 vaccine efforts could help defeat other diseases

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

Young people are key to defusing unrest and restoring public trust

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

The reskilling revolution can transform the future of work for women

European Defence Fund: EU funds new joint research and industrial projects

Coronavirus Global Response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge supports Venezuela

Search Engine neutrality in Europe in danger: Are 160.000 Google filtering requests good enough?

Why we need different generations in the workplace

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

Use space technology to build a better world for all, urges UN chief

UNICEF urges ‘transformative shift’ in family-friendly work policies to reap ‘huge’ benefits

EU cracks under the weight of its policy on the Ukraine-Russia nub

We need a global convention to end workplace sexual harassment

Climate Change : An Already Health Emergency

10 reasons to be optimistic for the future, from young change-makers

COVID-19 practices are constantly changing – this app helps emergency doctors cope

After the European Parliament elections – what happens next?

Scourge of slavery still claims 40 million victims worldwide, ‘must serve as a wakeup call’

Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on

Why the UK government must do more to boost green revolution

UN chief praises Africa for keeping ‘hearts and borders open’ in refugee crisis

OK computer: why the machine age still needs humans

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

As Dubai switches on its first 5G, what is all the fuss about?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s