How the EU sees its own and Russia’s role in Ukraine

Extraordinary meeting of EU heads of state or Government on Ukraine. Russels. (from left to right) Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council shakes hands with Arseniy Yatseniuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine in the presence of Angela Merkel , German Federal Chancellor. (Council of the European Union photographic library, 6.3.2014).

Extraordinary meeting of EU heads of state or Government on Ukraine. Brussels. (from left to right) Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council shakes hands with Arseniy Yatseniuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine in the presence of Angela Merkel , German Federal Chancellor. (Council of the European Union photographic library, 6.3.2014).

Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister of Poland, after yesterday’s European Union summit of its 28 leaders convened to examine the situation in Ukraine, termed it as stormy. He added that the sanctions against Russia the 28 decided were very limited but still, given the deep divisions of the leaders, he said those measures were the most to be expected. Tusk’s remarks reflect the divergence of national interests between the EU 28 member states in relation to the Ukraine-Russia developments. For example Britain has almost no economic interests being threatened in central Europe, while Germany imports from Russia around one third of its natural gas supplies.

The future of Crimea

Suspending the bilateral talks between EU and Russia and boycotting the G8 Summit in Sochi that the 28 agreed yesterday is almost nothing. Probably the most important decision that may cause pain to Russia is the suspension of the bilateral talks with the Russian Federation on visa matters. However, this decision will be taciturnly fought within the European Union mechanisms by many member states. Some of them expect hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists this summer, needing a quick visa procedure. Even Britain, the most anti-Moscow major member state, wouldn’t give up for nothing the Russian plutocrats who have sent real estate prices in London to the sky. London is in full alignment with Washington but only in anti-Russian rhetoric.

At the end of the day, what was left of the Summit was a pat on the back for the interim Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk, for whom the 28 forgot to add the ‘interim’ adjective to his title. However, not to forget the complex EU offer to Ukraine of €11 billion. This money though goes together with the IMF and is conditional on a very painful and anti-popular austerity program. No Kiev government is able to apply such a severe austerity package, at least not during the next few years.

About Ukrainian constitution

Coming to the Russian invasion of Crimea, the 28 asked for the immediate withdrawal of Moscow’s invading troops but didn’t ask for their return to Russia. They rather demanded that the troops return “to the areas of their permanent stationing”. As if the 28 leaders knew exactly where, the Russian soldiers who seized the Ukrainian military installations in Crimea, came from. It was just an opportunity to indirectly tell Moscow that Brussels accepts the presence of Russian armed forces in Crimea.

In any case, only some hours ahead of this ‘EU demand’, the Russian troopers had magically abandoned their occupation of the Ukrainian army installations in this region. The annexation of Crimea to Russia had already taken serious political form, with the Crimean Parliament asking Moscow to accept Crimea as part of the Russian Federation and to this end organising  a referendum on 16 March.

Of course the Summit didn’t forget to state that this referendum “is contrary to the Ukrainian Constitution and therefore illegal”. Nothing could be more Aeolian than that. All along the past weeks and why not months or years the Ukrainian Constitution was just a piece of paper. The country’s business life, the state administration and practically every authority rather than applying the Constitution, followed the orders of the governing political group.

Government-business collusion

The government-business collusion is in control of all the productive resources of this country, and  wealth changes hands according to the electoral results. The political control of the economy is so deep that almost nothing escapes from the insatiable appetite of governing gags which are formed around ‘leaders’ like Yanukocych, Tymoshenko and Kuchma.

Last but not least, what about the ‘appointment’ of the interim president and government by the regiments of ‘protestors’ of the Independence Square? Is the present administration Constitutional? In short, this EU 28 leaders’ statement about the unconstitutional referendum in Crimea has no value at all.

All in all, the EU is now negotiating with the Russians about the future of Ukraine. The problem is that the Americans have now assumed an important role, after having for years left the Ukrainian fields open to the EU and Russia.

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