A policy of engagement defined as a focus on national interest, and a radical turn from value-based foreign policy to nineteenth century Realpolitik, is not a workable option for relations between Russia and the West, writes Ivan Krastev.
The EU heads of state and government yesterday agreed on a joint response to the Caucasus crisis at a special summit in Brussels. Europe’s press discusses the result.
Russia’s strategy to revise the post-Soviet order in what it calls its “near abroad” will be pursued with even more perseverance following its victory over Georgia. Europe should have no illusions about this and should begin to prepare itself. But, as the European Union ponders what to do, cold realism, not hysterical overreaction, is in order.
While Georgia and Russia are the first to blame for the conflict, the United States and Europe must also bear some responsibility, according to Thomas Gomart of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), who spoke to EurActiv in an interview.
Reactions to the EU’s new social package were split as the Commission presented it to MEPs yesterday (2 September), with many voicing their support but critical that it is not far-reaching enough. Meanwhile, Socialist leader Martin Schulz used the opportunity to open the election campaign against the political right, who would lead Europe in the "wrong direction".
Strengthening the role of Europe is a primary objective of the current French and the future Czech and Swedish presidencies, their representatives stated, presenting the updated priorities of "the trio of presidencies" in the European Parliament on 2 September.
So, where are we after the EU’s summit on the Georgia crisis? Exactly where we were before the summit.
A few vague tutting sounds in the general direction of Russia, a bit of hyperbole (Hans-Gert Pottering, who should know better, calling the Georgia crisis the worst threat to security we’ve seen since the end of the Cold War), a few vague attempts to blame the EU’s lack of success on the failure to ratify the Lisbon Treaty (rather than, erm… seeing the failure to ratify the Lisbon Treaty as a symptom of the same one-size-fits-all malaise), and little in the way of concrete proposals for how – or if – the EU’s eastern neighbourhood policy should really shift to prevent such situations happening again. (Yes, there are plans in place to strengthen the EU’s ties to its eastern neighbours – but these are nothing new, having been agreed back in June).
by Clara Marina O’Donnell
During a trip to Israel in August, the only optimists I met were French diplomats. The reason for their upbeat mood? Ambitious plans by President Sarkozy for the EU to advance the Middle East peace process – including a controversial proposal that the EU should take the lead in creating an international peacekeeping force which could replace the Israeli army in the West Bank as part of a peace deal. But in the current inauspicious environment, can France, which currently holds the EU presidency, really help to move things forward and allow the EU to play a bigger role in the peace process?