European Council: Choosing new leaders for the EU betrays efforts for a wider arrangement

From left to right: Taavi Roivas, Estonian Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister, David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Alexander Stubb, Finnish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish Prime Minister, Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania. Special meeting of the European Council in Brussels, on Saturday 30 August. (The Council of the European Union Audiovisual Services).

From left to right: Taavi Roivas, Estonian Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister, David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Alexander Stubb, Finnish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish Prime Minister, Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania. Special meeting of the European Council in Brussels, on Saturday 30 August. (The Council of the European Union Audiovisual Services).

The special meeting of the European Council held last Saturday 30 August, despite or probably because of the alarming news about the new fall of inflation to the crisis level of 0.3% last month, was almost totally devoted to the Ukrainian crisis. Unfortunately, the new inflation coming close to zero means that the millions of the unemployed Europeans won’t find a job in the foreseeable future. Consequently, this fact will continue to haunt the political and social life in many Eurozone countries. The controversy with Russia and the subsequent sanctions and trade embargos add to the economic misery of many EU countries.

In the economic front, no EU member state will remain untouched by the lack of tangible reversal in the labour market. Under this light, the belligerent attitude against Russia over Ukraine that engulfs Europe offers, among other things, a good argument to quiet down the possible social unrest within the EU. Of course the same is true for Russia. The Ukrainian conflict and the concomitant confrontation with the West offer to the ruler of Kremlin and his entourage, a good political tool in their endeavors to extend their absolute political and economic domination of the vast country.

Economic and strategic issues

Of course the socio-economic issues can’t explain in full what happens today in Europe and in a broad sense in the entire world. As Henry Kissinger writes in his new book, “The penalty for failing (n.b., of the great world powers to cooperate) will be not so much a major war between states (though in some regions this remains possible) as an evolution into spheres of influence identified with particular domestic structures and forms of governance”. Alas, the war in Ukraine is not about the unity and the welfare of its people, but serves rather the strategies of the great powers for the wider region and the world.

Now let’s return to last Saturday’s European Council in Brussels. The 28 EU leaders appointed the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk as President of the European Council and the Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini as European Union’s foreign policy chief. Most probably, those decisions reflect a new balance of power within the EU, regarding the club’s strategy and the objectives of its core member states around and beyond the Ukrainian conflict.

Germany’s solution for Ukraine

Do those two appointments reflect a change of internal power relations in the EU between Germany and the European Atlanticists? The answer is certainly yes. Let’s see why. For one thing the change of strategy vis-à-vis the Ukrainian stalemate is also reflected in the text of the conclusions, adopted by the EU Council at the above meeting. The key passage of it reads as follows, “The European Union reiterates the urgent need for a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine‘s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence”. For the first time the EU leaders show an interest for the “territorial integrity” of the eastern regions of Ukraine.

Warmongering

This is a departure albeit barely visible, from the so far common EU-US uncompromising strategy to ‘win the war in Ukraine’. Germany, has repeatedly tried to convince its major Atlantic allies, the US, Britain and France, about the catastrophic consequences of a total win in the war against the Russian speaking millions of eastern Ukraine. Only some days ago the German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, demanded that the EU and the West in general backs a solution in the Ukrainian conflict favouring a “federal country”.

The obvious supplement to such a policy proposal is that there can’t be a total victory in the Ukrainian civil war, if a long-term viable solution is to be sought. Still the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, a western operative, keeps using heavy artillery bombing and air attacks against residential areas in Luhansk and Donetsk.

The new appointments

All along the Ukrainian crisis the EU’s foreign policy, as expressed by Catherine Ashton, the currently serving head of the Union’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Service didn’t deviate at all from the strong and aggressive attitude of the US towards the Ukrainian separatist rebels and their masters in Kremlin. Now the appointment of the Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the period from the end of the current term of office of the Commission until 31 October 2019, seems to change things slightly.

Italy, like Germany, opposes the strategy target set by the US-Britain-France trio, to cut Russia out from Western Europe and the West in general. The reasoning over it, as in the case of Germany, is economic, traditional and the dependence on Russian energy sources. In any case, this energy dependence is not a one way relation. Both Italy and Germany have considerable vested business interests and even larger plans for future investments in Russia.

Hard and soft policy stance

Together with Mogherini though, Donald Tusk, a hardliner towards Russia, highly experienced in east European affairs, was named last Friday by the European leaders as successor to Herman Van Rompuy in the Presidency of the European Council. It would be of paramount interest if the details of the informal voting were made public. Obviously, the two appointees clearly represent the soft and the harsh stance regarding Russia.

Last but not least there are more signs that Germany, probably supported by Italy and some other minor EU countries like Austria, is now actively trying to formulate a new European stance towards the Ukrainian problem, in divergence from the American intransigence. Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking last week to the German public broadcaster ARD surprised everybody by saying that Ukraine is “free to join the Russian led Eurasian Union”. The German leader spoke to ARD ahead of her visit to Ukraine.

Understandably, this is a tautology because Ukraine is an independent country and may join whichever economic union it chooses. There is a huge difference though, if this liberty of Ukraine is underlined by Merkel. The German leader had more to say. She advocated a decentralised Ukraine, aka a federal state. In short, she asked for a kind of autonomy for the eastern Russian speaking populations, prone to Russian influence.

Naturally this statement was interpreted as an opening to Vladimir Putin in the negotiations to find solutions to a number of problems, like energy supplies and valuable economic relations between, EU, Russia and Ukraine. Yet, this is anathema for the US strategy. Washington aims at ostracizing Russia from the world. The American strategy drawn at its limits, seems to target a permanent division of Europe.

In conclusion, last Friday’s European Council may constitute a step towards a compromise between the EU and Russia over Ukraine and more. Europe is seemingly trying to sidestep the frictions between the West, led by the US and the Russian controlled Eurasian Union.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

A European young student speaks about the Youth Policies of the European Commission

The Sichuan Province of China presents its cultural treasure to the EU

UN chief welcomes possibility of resumed talks between US and North Korea

Why Italy will not follow the Greek road; Eurozone to change or unravel

Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic Congo is ‘largely contained’: WHO

Why do thousands of migrants need to be drowned for Brussels to wake up?

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

Central Africa: Security Council concerned by ‘grave security situation’, calls for better agency cooperation

How the United States is falling in love with secondhand clothes

Taking fast road to ‘e-mobility’ central to a sustainable future: COP24

‘Catastrophic’ healthcare costs put mothers and newborns at risk

Egyptian death sentences a ‘gross miscarriage of justice’: UN human rights chief

Austrian Presidency priorities discussed in committees

Human rights are everyone’s business, amid relentless crises around world: UN’s Bachelet

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

Music is a vital urban resource. How do we plan for it?

EU: Tax evasion and fraud flourish under political protection

Syrians still living on ‘razor edge’ as UN launches $8.8 billion dollar appeal

New study shows close link between GVCs participation and economic development

International Day of the Midwife: 5 things you should know

Time is running out to protect Africa’s forests

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

There is huge talent in the world’s refugee camps. We must realize this overlooked potential

Property regimes for international couples in Europe: new rules apply in 18 Member States as of today

A conceptual approach to Violence Against Healthcare in Turkey from SDG’s

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

4 radical shifts required to achieve universal health coverage worldwide

How to future-proof India’s economy

There’s a global learning crisis and it’s leaving millions without basic skills

This is how attitudes to vaccines compare around the world

Hopes for Palestinian State hit by ‘facts on the ground’ : senior UN official

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

SMEs are driving job growth, but need higher investment in skills, innovation and tech to boost wages and productivity

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

These forms of exercise are best for your mental health

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

DR Congo: Ebola response resumes despite ‘risky environment’

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Bicycles for the environment, new leader for the UN General Assembly, UN values, Ebola, Syria and Libya

Thursday’s Daily Brief: dire living conditions in Idlib, migrants at US southern border, end in sight for trachoma, Human Rights Council

If airlines were a country they’d be one of the world’s top 10 greenhouse gas emitters

MWC19 Wrap Up, in association with The European Sting, GSMA’s Brussels Media Partner for the 6th Consecutive Year

Here’s how to make ‘value-based healthcare’ a reality

‘Ghost fishing’ is threatening our oceans. Here’s how we can tackle it

Schools must look to the future when connecting students to the internet

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

EU tourism industry expects a new record year in 2014

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

Mental health: a medical school’s demand

How Eurozone consumers spend their income when they have one…

Portugal: Budget MEPs back €4.66 m in job-search aid for 730 redundant workers

Erasmus+: an expected budget of €3 billion to be invested in young Europeans and to help create European Universities in 2019

Indigenous peoples ‘lag behind on all social and economic indicators’: UN deputy human rights chief

Eliminating waste at scale – eight opportunities for blockchain

The US-Mexico trade deal a threat for others, Trump to single out China, Europe

We can decide to live within the limits of our planet

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

More Stings?

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