European Summit in Bratislava: the strategy of the snail

Author : Serhiy Sydorenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

EU has chosen a strategy of ignoring external dangers
17:45, 26 September 2016

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Last weekend Bratislava hosted an informal EU summit. The meeting was not dedicated to the Donbas issue or sanctions, and had nothing to do with Ukraine at all. That is why Ukrainian experts passed off this event, and this fact is worrisome.

It was the first meeting of the leaders of EU member states held in the format "without Britain." The general theme of the event was discussion of the EU’s future. The outcome of the meeting was the "road map," a list of strategic priorities of the renewed Europe.

This paper does not contain a word a Ukraine or Russian threat.

Related: EU informal summit kicks off in Bratislava

Moreover, there are no references to the need to operate outside the Member States of the European Union. Even the "External security and defense" block does not list of exterior challenges or mention the foreign priorities of the EU.

In order to fight the "external security threats," the European community plans to "strengthen cooperation between Member States" in this area. And cooperation with NATO. And that's all.

It seems that the EU has chosen “the strategy of the snail.”

Like, of course, there are some threats to the European project, but the EU will try to deal with them without going outside.

The part of member states was against such a "stripped-down" approach to security. "Visegrad countries proposed to include the issue of Ukraine, but found no support," commented Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Hungary Szabolcs Takách.

Related: EU, U.S. call extraordinary session of UN Security Council

This may seem like nonsense, but even with the migration crisis, the EU wants to fight hardly going beyond its borders.

"Migration" block (the biggest concern of the citizens) is, of course, the key to solving the Bratislava summit of the EU. Strengthening of the borders, amplification of legal power of the joint border service, changes in the common migration policy are the right steps. But is the European Union able to stop the flow of migrants, if it does not work with the causes of this phenomenon?

Fortunately, the document still contains a reference to "dialogue" with other countries, which should result in "reducing the flow (of migrants) and increase their return."

Let us go back to the question of safety. Why does the EU actually ignores external threats?

Related: Ukraine, Germany and France discussed security situation in Donbas

I would venture to say that this is not a nod to Russia. Of we can say that it is certainly not a "hint" to the Ukraine.

Rather, it is shortsighted European leadership, which seems to be confused with strong internal problems. That is why it has changed the strategy to tactics.

European leaders have really something to think about. The ultra-right candidate has almost won the Presidential elections in Austria (and where he is likely to win in the third round). Elections in France and Germany are near, and the party's populist are rapidly gaining popularity there. Italy, where this process has been going on for years, but the current government has faced with the prospect of retirement. Finally, a referendum in the UK, which will continue to trouble the united Europe - all these facts adds hassle to leaders of member states ...

Fortunately, the new approach the EU will not have immediate negative consequences for Kyiv.

Related: Ukraine highly values the role of the EU in ensuring Ukraine's energy security - Parubiy

Bureaucratic flywheel of the EU needs a lot of time to spin, but it also cannot be stopped quickly. Reforms assistance would continue. But those who hoped for strengthening of EU involvement in the regulation of Ukraine’s issues must reassess their expectations. Maybe, they should try to convince EU member states this is more difficult to deal with the effects than the causes.

... That by closing the eyes to the real source of security problems around the EU, they will never be able to cope with these problems,

... That any reduction of pressure on Russia (even at the level of political declarations!) will be perceived as a permit for Kremlin’s further illegal actions,

... That the fight against terrorism cannot be only within the EU, as in this case they are struggling with the consequences, not the causes.

Will European leaders understand this simple truth? We will see it at the next summits of the European Union, in October and December.

Yet meeting in Bratislava has the status of "informal." The position of the EU and the perception of real threats may change.

Related: EU Council extended personal sanctions against Russian businesses

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