Time for new unions

16:00, 05 July 2016
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Opinion

After two years of fire and blood in Ukraine, at the eastern border of the European Union, after all basic rules of international relations were scrapped and the existing system of global security – compromised, the geopolitical space of the Western world is finally in motion. And it’s not the blood of Ukrainians shed while refuting Russian horde’s westward expansion that was the reason for this. The reason lies in the new geopolitical fire, this time, ironically, coming to Europe from the west. Brexit stormed up the iced waters of the long-established European politics, incapable of delivering appropriate responses to the toughest challenges for Europe in this century.

But the most interesting thing is not so much the outcome of the referendum but the reaction of key EU powers to UK’s withdrawal. It seems like Germany, France and some other countries of the old Europe were just waiting for the right opportunity to get rid of the British presence in the EU in order to bring up a new cycle of revival of the German-French dominance in Europe supported by Russian resources.

Brexit stormed up the iced waters of the long-established European politics

This can be evidenced by the following markers. Germany attempted to weaken the UK by fanning separatism in Scotland. For example, Chairman of the EU Affairs Committee of the Bundestag, current ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Gunther Krichbaum immediately after the UK referendum said that both Germany and the EU will welcome the entry into the Bloc of Scotland if the latter decides to become independent. Perhaps, Berlin has forgotten about its own Bavaria – the card which might as well be played by certain external actors as a response in a separatism issue.

Worth noting is also a swift EU reform plan proposed by Germany and France, providing for deeper integration of the member states, including the abandonment of the national armies, the security services, and full integration of the legislative field, the tax system, as well as the putting immigration policy decision-making and border control in one headquarters. In fact, this kind of a project is nothing but the old German plan to restore its dominance in Europe as a core step to achieve a status of a global geopolitical player. The Ukrainian experts are right when they note that Berlin has long been preparing for such a scenario. By the way, this explains total unwillingness of German officials and politicians to exert any serious pressure on Vladimir Putin in order to make him change his policy toward Ukraine and Europe in general.

Germany, France and some other countries of the old Europe were just waiting for the right opportunity to get rid of the British presence in the EU in order to bring up a new cycle of revival of the German-French dominance in Europe.

It is also interesting that Visegrad Four refused to be just extras in the process of transforming the old pan-European EU to a new, German-French one. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has said that the Visegrad Group questions the relevance of the Franco-German proposals on significant deepening of the "political union" in the EU. Tough offers on common security policy have also raised concerns.

Different views on the common European future of the majority of Eastern European member states and the old Europe give reason to assume that the former unity in the ranks of the EU is gone for good. Rather Germany, along with France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and some other European countries will try to create a more integrated bloc with a focus on Berlin and Paris. An important feature of this bloc will be a path for rapprochement with Putin's Russia, despite the Kremlin's denial of any rules of the game whatsoever.

Eastern and northern European states will attempt to set up their own center of influence within the current EU (although it is logical to assume that a change in the internal rules of the European Union is just around the corner), where Poland, Sweden, Lithuania, and Romania will act as leaders. This group will focus on the UK and the U.S., as well as on its own military resources to deter Russia and block the merger of Berlin and Moscow in a "geopolitical ecstasy." This group, in case it is clearly shaped, will be an optimal foreign political partner with a long-term perspective.

Eastern and northern European states will attempt to set up their own center of influence within the EU

By the way, at an upcoming economic forum in Krynica (Poland), a proposal is expected to be submitted for the formation of an Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia) together with Romania and Ukraine. This idea has a future, although the foreign policy of Hungary and Slovakia is now quite loyal to Russia.

Also interesting is a statement of Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski that without the Eastern Partnership countries, “the European project remains incomplete." Given the categorical unwillingness of Germany and other countries of the Old Europe to give Ukraine hope (even a very distant one) of EU membership, the European project directed by Poland will differ significantly from the German version. And Warsaw will have something to offer Kyiv.

By the way, a "warning shot" of Anglo-Saxons at Germany in the wake of Berlin’s plans to squeeze the UK from the European Union could be a strike by the U.S. Fed on Deutsche Bank. According to Federal Reserve and IMF officials, the bank has failed a stress test by U.S. Fed and is now deemed the biggest source of risk among global systemically important banks.

The time is coming to Europe for the new geopolitical unions with a focus on the different power centers

Another bank which flunked the test was Spain’s Santander Holdings USA.

The time is coming to Europe for the new geopolitical unions with a focus on the different power centers. For Ukraine, it is vitally important to grasp the reality of EU’s transition into a new phase. Even more important is to choose its own path in the European project, clearly telling the allies and partners from the state actors which will play the Ukrainian card in own bargaining with the Kremlin.

There is almost no time left to make mistakes.

Roman Rukomeda

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