EU, Russia, and NATO after Brexit: Ukraine in a new geopolitical triangle

Author : Mykola Murskyj

Source : 112 Ukraine

Overcoming internal differences would increase effectiveness of NATO’s response to the Russian threats
18:25, 30 July 2016

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17410472 British citizens neglected the warnings of Barack Obama, Christine Lagarde, John Major, and hundreds of other major world figures, who predicted the possible collapse of the economy and complications in public life; they have voted to leave the European Union.

The Telegraph

The political earthquake caused by the British men threatens not only the UK, but the institutional structure of postwar Europe.

The results of the referendum led to the fall of the British pound and the volatility of financial markets. Currently, the stock players are waiting for the first economic results of the referendum.

Conservatives' new Iron Lady Theresa May, who did not support Brexit, now came to mplement people's choice in practice.

What will change for the European Union?

Britain has always enjoyed special privileges in the EU, based on four exceptions (opt-outs) of the common EU law: immigration policy (Britain did not joined the Schengen Agreement) and Monetary Union (Britain rejected European currency).

At the same time, Britain has always opposed the positions of Western states, the founding countries, and Spain, that has been gravitating to the state regulation of the economy and further federalization of Europe.

The loss of "British fuse" radically changes the balance of power in the EU.

Related: Independent: European Commission appoints chief Brexit negotiator but says he won't speak to UK until Article 50 triggered

Growth of responsibility for the situation in the EU falls on Germany. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also says that the German’s leadership in the EU is forced. Merkel believed that London would not exit and change the EU and would not change the balance. In addition, she seeks resignation of Juncker, known for his commitment to the further transfer of sovereignty to Brussels.

The results of the referendum caused unrest in the Visegrad Four. It does not support the further strengthening of Brussels, and especially a common policy on migration. In the words of the Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, the current crisis is created by Europe itself. Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban claims that the Visegrad Four are the most successful countries in the region, while Western Europe has faced a deep crisis.

The most urgent question is whether British referendum would cause a domino effect, and other member states would do the same.

Related: Britain is not going to start formal Brexit procedures this year

Far-right forces of France, Holland, Italy, and Austria have called on the new referendum, pro-Russian Czech President Miloš Zeman does not exclude the organization of such a referendum too.

However, the wave of referendums, as well as decisions to withdraw from the EU, is doubtful.

The role of Russia

Russian interests are well known; the Kremlin sees the world in perspective of spheres of influence. It is trying to destruct the unity of European countries, primarily in terms of safety and policy on post-Soviet Eastern Europe.

Russia has managed to create a powerful lobby in Western and Central Europe. It openly funds some radical right and left powers; it is supported by the influential business circles in the leading EU contries.

Most EU citizens do not see a direct Russia’s threat, so they prefer their leaders to be focused on migration and economic issues.

In view of this, the Russian reaction to Brexit is predictable. Russian pro-government speakers say about the crisis of the Western world and its main institutions. Unlike the Western world, some in the Kremlin and opposition camps are united in opposition to the "Western threat." This "threat" is a base for the newly formed nationalistic unity. The confrontation with NATO is an essential issue in the Russian public propaganda and military maneuvers.

Related: EU Leaders encourage Britain not to delay Brexit

How would NATO change?

According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Brexit would not change the leading role of Britain.

Western analysts have different predictions concerning possibility of NATO fragmentation.

Overcoming internal differences would increase effectiveness of NATO’s response to the Russian threats.  

And given the leading role of the United States - the pillar of NATO - and the powerful Britain's role, NATO’s position on Russia’s aggressive actions is much clearer than the position of the EU.

The head of the diplomatic corps of the EU Federica Mogherini calls relations with Russia "a key strategic challenge," while the Warsaw NATO Summit communiqué indicates on the direct destabilizing role of Moscow.

Related: Merkel to expect quick decisions from Britain in the context of Brexit

The most difficult thing is that the alliance must give a hybrid response to a hybrid challenge.

However Summit in Warsaw demonstrated NATO's willingness to act in response to Russian actions. Russia is an enemy, which must be checked and balanced.

Opening a political dialogue with Moscow means that NATO is already suppressing the acts of Russia’s aggression. NATO forms multinational tactical battalions in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland (1,000 military in each country).

Related: Cameron: We'll find way to continue to support Ukraine despite Brexit

EU and NATO have signed a joint declaration on strategic partnership during the Warsaw Summit, which primarily provides measures of opposing the hybrid threats.

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The EU becomes more and more fragmented, and it is on the verge of formal and informal reformatting. Russia becomes more and more aggressive, and its anti-NATO position is strong. We can only hope that NATO would become more consolidated in its decisions. For Ukraine it would be difficult to find a place in this triangle, which guarantees security and stability. Our success depends on our own approach to the tasks and goals. First of all, the effective implementation of measures envisaged in the Strategic Defense Bulletin, which can become our informal action plan to prepare for membership.

Related: Brexit, Ukraine and globalisation

Related: Brexit: Britain opposed unilateral commitments for EU citizens

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