Tusk: ‘good will’ for Brexit

“…We confirmed our strong commitment to the transatlantic relationship, and to further strengthening security cooperation, including between NATO and the EU” – said President Donald Tusk after his meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

“… Let me make a general remark about Brexit. These negotiations are difficult enough as they are. If we start arguing before they even begin, they will become impossible. The stakes are too high to let our emotions get out of hand. Because at stake are the daily lives and interests of millions of people on both sides of the Channel. We must keep in mind that in order to succeed, today we need discretion, moderation, mutual respect and a maximum of good will.” – said President Donald Tusk after his meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

Rome Summit: Tusk as EU symbol of strife

SAM_1713

While EU Council president Donald Tusk (pictured) is preparing the anniversary  of the Treaty of Rome Summit (25.03.2017), focusing of the ‘unity’ message of EU27 in post-Brexit era, the argument over his own re-appointment ignoring Polish government’s  protest, remains open, poisoning the historic event.

Although the Summit is informal, the open confrontation with Poland over re-appointment of Tusk is a toxic issue, that would be impossible to play down or brush off. The EU diplomacy showed  poor judgment when suggested Prime minister Beata Szydlo (53) would have no choise but submit to the will the fellow EU members, openly imposing Tusk – an active political opponent of her incumbent government.   Szydlo, the miner’s daughter, showed a remarkable capacity to withstand punch, and audacity to retaliate, rejecting to sign the Council conclusions. If this pattern is chosen as a long-term strategy, it will mean, as long as Tusk chairs the EU meetings, Poland will continue to obstruct the outcome, not honoring a legal status to its decisions. This conflict over Tusk might not hinder the upcoming ‘informal’ Summit in Rome legally, but it will certainly harm its image politically.

While preparing the Declaration of the Summit in Rome, calling for ‘unity’ as a universal remedy from all kind of problems Europeans suffer, Tusk’s controversial chairmanship, weakens the message a priori.   “Taken individually, we would be sidelined by global dynamics. Standing together is our best chance to influence them, and to defend our common interests and values … Our Union is undivided and indivisible,” – Tusk’s draft declaration calls, making this words to haunt him like a bitter irony.

Being ‘an apple of discord’ between Poland and the rest of the EU, Tusk himself is a at most eloquent physical evidence of the profound crisis of the EU, and a symbol of strife and decline.

The draft, dated March 16 and prepared by the contraversial chairman of EU summits Donald Tusk, will pass by all the capitals  next week before being endorsed in Rome on the 25th of March.

Anna van Densky OPINION published in @EuropeDiplomatic

Mogherini in US: ‘mission impossible’

 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini at the State Department in Washington

 

Difficult to imagine less suitable personality to represent nowadays the EU diplomacy in the US, than an ardent promoter of political Islam in Europe, an Italian Socialist – Federica Mogherini, with both Socialism and Islam living winter in the EU.

However the gravity of the situation is beyond personal views and Mogherini’s political convictions: the whole disposition of the foreign policy in the EU makes her visit pretty useless a priori  as a result of an exaggerated loyalty to President Obama, and the US Democrats, the EU has mixed into the US presidential campaign supporting #Hillary, and undermining #Trump, demonstrating an astonishing myopia of the EU diplomacy, unable to anticipate the responsibly to work with any elected by Americans president.
Alas, after the US presidential elections, the EU diplomacy appeared not only to be myopic, but having as much flexibility as a gout patient, struck by multiple arthritis poor losers the EU protagonists continued opposition against President Trump, some as a policy, the others as a credo.
The leader of the European Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats, Gianni Pittella spit oil on fire accusing President Trump of manipulating the UK as a ‘Trojan horse’ to destroy the EU from within. The UK closeness with the US new President is ‘endangering worldwide democracy’,  he assumed, in an interview to anti-Trump TV news channel.
The EU Socialists were not in solitude to continuing the self-imposed ‘holy war’ against the US new administration – the appointed in an obscure procedure Pope Curia fume style, the president of the European Council Donald Trump threw his glove, publishing an open letter, naming President Trump among ‘threats’ to the EU unity. Although odd for a conservative liberal, the personal views of Tusk were also circulated in the world media, downgrading already hostile mood of the ‘Trump-era’ EU-US relations.
The head of the European Commission,  Jean-Claude Juncker did not stay aside, adding his share to ‘anti-Trump’ rhetoric, blaming him ‘populism’, and similarities with European raising nationals, very much appreciated by latest, already seeing inspiration in Trump’s anti-terroristic legislation.
So far the only head of the EU institutions, who showed a diplomatic attitude to the EU-US relations was the new Chair of the European Parliament, a compatriot of Mogherini – Antonio Tajani from the centre-right, although his moderate attitude can be explained by his rise after the US elections. Tajani restrained from confrontational remarks, explaining that in his position he will express the views of the EP as a collective body, but not of his own. A reasonable approach, but not a panacea, as there hardly any ‘collective’ views in the EU in foreign policy.
Within a growing schism among member states on all the major issues: Russia, Syria, Libya, Iran, Palestine – there is no one single big dossier evoking genuine unanimity.
Mogherini ‘sympathy’ visit to Tillerson, with no results and no perspectives, no common grounds and no common interests, reveals the naked truth of the profound crisis of the EU, reflected in the illusionary errands of its top diplomat. However one conclusion of this visit is definite: in gambling with the US elections, the EU lost it political capital, and Brussels, as de facto capital of the EU lost, as consequence,  its significance as the world’s diplomacy stage.

 

Published in @BrussselsDiplomatic

EU-Ukraine: simply in limbo

sam_5578

The atmosphere at the EU-Ukraine Summit press-conference was between dull and gloomy, the presidents looked mostly down in their papers, the regular wooden language clichés on democracy and solidarity were distributed generously, probably in attempt to disguise a poor outcome.
President Petro Poroshenko goes back home almost empty handed: one can’t consider 15 million euro for an anti-corruption project and 104 euro for public administration as a big deal for a 43 million strong population of Ukraine (for comparison Georgia received at donor’s conference one billion euro).
However the financial aid for Ukraine is not on the table for the EU in crisis and serious economic problems of Mediterranean member-states criticizing austerity policy.
The visa-free regime would be a absolute maximum the EU can grant to Ukraine for good ‘home-work’ in promotion of reforms and good governance. But it is only a theory.
In spite of promises of the EU’ presidents #Tusk and #Juncker to conclude the issue by the end of the year, it is a clear understanding at the institutional back-stage that granting visa-free for 43 millions Ukrainians will mean a opulent gift to Eurosceptics.
Neither at the moment of Maidan revolution, no today the EU has a plan of an integration of such a big country into the block.
The galloping enlargement policy, neglecting Copenhagen criteria, already bore bitter fruit: the UK voted #Brexit largely in disagreement of a perspective of authoritarian Turkey to join the EU.
The negative outcome of the Dutch referendum on Association agreement with Ukraine  showed the state of mind in one of the key countries of the Union, awaiting the general elections in March. The agreement of visa-free to Ukrainians, notorious for its endemic corruption with the similar to Nigeria index, would push the votes in democratic countries flee the Union, becoming just an assembly of countries based on geographic, but not values orientated principle.
Giving a eulogy to European Parliament’s president Socialist Martin Schulz, President Poroshenko just aggravated a sentiment of a foul game, going on
behind closed doors of European institutions making arrangement with third parties without the EU cititzens’ consent. It is up to the European Parliament to give an approval to visa liberalization until the end of this year,  and certainly  it’s president has influence to exercise.
Taking into consideration Schulz’ decision to leave the EP, the visa-free for Ukrainians might be his last contribution to what he calls ‘the biggest civilization project of the past centuries’. A helping hand to president Poroshenko, and also to Eurosceptics Geet Wilders and Marine Le Pen in coming elections in The Netherlands and France, not least Schulz’ compatriot AfD’s Frauke Petry, whose stakes are also at raise.
Surely it is possible to liberalize the visa regime for Ukrainians until the end of this year, in a certain way it will even facilitate the prediction of the national elections outcome next year. No polls needed. Anyway they didn’t show to be accurate so far.