November 22, 2013
The decision of the Ukrainian government to freeze the country’s EU association and instead to revive economic relations with Russia is a resounding slap in the face of the European Union.
It’s a slap in the face of Mr. Barroso, Mr. Van Rompuy, Mrs. Ashton, Mr. Füle. All of them will be scarred for life from this major catastrophe they helped happen.
The move took the EU by surprise, which is even more alarming. So many EU diplomats were on the case, and nobody realised what was going to happen. As an illustration to this, a photo circulating over social media depicts EU Ambassador to Kyiv Jan Tombiński, present during the vote, holding his head in despair.
The EU should stop repeating the most stupid thing we kept hearing in recent months: “It’s for Ukraine to decide”. In Ukraine only one person decides, usually after having secret talks with Vladimir Putin.
It’s not Ukraine’s decision, it’s the decision of Mr. Yanukovich. The country may be divided over its geopolitical choice, but a large majority wants EU integration.
But the EU has also been divided over Ukraine, this division obviously giving advantage to Mr. Putin.
Germany has overplayed the importance of the Tymoshenko case. The lady may be an icon of the Orange revolution, but she was found guilty of major wrongdoings, for God’s sake.
And France conveyed the message that it didn’t want to antagonise Russia, as it couldn’t afford new trade wars.
Ukraine’s dossier calls for a deep rethinking of EU’s foreign policy and even its decision-making in the larger sense. After its ‘success’ with Ukraine, Russia will be tempted to unravel the fabric of the Union itself: it’s weakest Orthodox members, for instance, where it already has a big economic leverage: Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria.
This blog is called “Reuniting Europe’. Should I rename it “Unravelling Europe”?