Except Eastern Europeans, the Reaction of Europe to Events That are Happening in the East is Quite

In the text “Fall of the Russian Diplomats’ published here we described a situation as an overture of this fall when the Czech police and Chief Directorate for Combating Organised Crime on 17 April launched a search appeal of…

In the text “Fall of the Russian Diplomats’ published here we described a situation as an overture of this fall when the Czech police and Chief Directorate for Combating Organised Crime on 17 April launched a search appeal of the agents of chief Intelligence directorate Anatoly Chepyga and Alexander Mishkin were who were suspected of contributing to the explosion in the explosive warehouse of the company Imex Group on 16 October 2014 in Vrbětice village in the east of the country.
The story has a diplomatic continuation when Czechia expelled 18 Russian diplomats from the country and asked partners of NATO and the European Union (EU) to expel some probable agents of Russia working in embassies. The Prime Minister of Czechia Andrej Babiš repeated his request last time on 8 May during the meeting of European Union leaders held in Portugal and ‘minimized’ its extent to one Russian diplomat to be expelled as a solidarity sign with Prague.
The Prime Minister of Czechia implied that attack of one member of the Community means an attack against all EU. The colleagues, leaders of the Community members promised to reconsider this question during the meeting of the European Council (EC) at the end of May.
We should note right away that a speech of the Prime Minister of Czechia in Portugal was directed to the old members of the EU from the West and South of Europe, because most easter and central European had already demonstrated solidarity with Czechs and had already expelled Russian diplomats.
To this end I should remind of a particularly optimistic assessment of the Czech commentator Libor Dvořák that he was not expecting a particularly strong reaction of the EU and NATO that followed, for example after poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury, the United Kingdom (UK) when a couple of dozens Western states expelled 146 Russian diplomats from their countries. For the reason Czech geopolitical power is weaker than of the UK and because of the international reputation, and because the issue of relation to Russia is still splitting the political class of Czechia.
However, not just this. Only 18 members of the European Parliament (EP) from Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Romania, Estonia and France supported the declaration on 2 April instigating to stop Russia threatening Ukraine. At that time Russia still had concentrated over 100 thousand soldiers at the border of the neighbour. 751 deputies from 28 states sit in the EP.
Secretary of the State of France, who is taking care of European affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Clément Beaunee during his interview to Radio J on 14 April, on the eve of the visit of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to Paris to see the President Emmanuel Macron noted that the visit should not be considered as a signal for Ukraine to join the EU.
Although a day before the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency William J. Burns told the special meeting of the Intelligence Board of the Senate that he did not exclude a possibility that Moscow would start military invasion to Ukraine. The ambassador of Ukraine to Germany Andriy Melnik on 15 April was franker and called the situation ‘catastrophic’ during his interview to the radio channel Deutschlandfunk because Russia was trying to erase Ukraine as a state from the map. He also indicated that declarations of solidarity were not enough to his country; they needed specific assistance, in weapons too in order to defend from aggression
Now we know that aggression was far closer than most people thought. It’s a good thing it did not happen.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UK called up the ambassador of Russia Andrey Kelin on 15 April just to express its concerns about aggressive actions of Russia against Ukraine. Actually, they implied to the ambassador of Russia that it supported sanctions of the U.S. President Joe Biden imposed on Moscow.
In reply to sanctions of the EU in April Russians introduced counter sanctions to 8 high officers of the Community with a ban to enter Russia, including the President of the EP David Sassoli – in favour of the eastern Europe. Clemente Beaune mentioned here, called them just unproportionate. Brussels is still preparing the response. The rate is just like that.
In hard times to the country during 2014-2016 the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk during the discussion of Kiev Security Forum held on 28 April indicated that it was necessary to resist aggression of Russia in his country by joint forces of the EU and the United States. However, we are talking about a goal but not the actual situation.
President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda tried to bring Kiev on foot when during his interview to the daily Evropeyskaya pravda on 6 April was talking about a possibility of Ukraine to become a full member of the EU. He told this might happen at least ten years later, to be exact, not later than after 30 years. According to Gitanas Nausėda, year 2025, 2027 and 2028 will be important to Kiev as transitional to this end when Poland, Lithuania and Latvia will chair the EU. As far as we can see, just eastern Europe.
The Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung (of 23 April) stated by using a word ‘probably’ that namely Moscow was spreading tension in Europe but to previous satellites from its east, although members of the EU and NATO still had been looking from the post-colonial position for almost a decade. The Central and Eastern Europe painfully perceive that we have less space for a compromise, and we should consider this circumstance even for the hesitant EU if they do not want to lose its influence in the east of the continent. Again, it is conditional.
As a political analyst of Radio Svobodnaya Evropa/Radio Svoboda Rikard Jozwiak told when there was a need to act, a bureaucratic inertia came to light. This was proved by the reaction to the aggression of Russia against Ukraine in 2014 or the last year events in Belarus. Now we have members of the EU from the West that avoid an open dialogue what Russia is doing at their borders.
The first common official declaration of Germany and France regarding events at the border of Ukraine seemed quite shameful – ‘both parties have to reduce the level of escalation’. In the organization of European Security and Cooperation counties such as Italy and Portugal supported by Spain and Greece also talk about the ambiguity of wording.
According to Rikard Jazwiak, this is not a one-time oversight but a rather significant part of the reflection of the disposition of the politicians of the Western Europe. Poland that asked a question of the European sanctions against Russia was supported just by several allied members from the east of Europe. The Ukrainian friend Warsaw was left almost in isolation; the Baltic States, although they are brave, are not influential in a political point of view.
In the EU most countries focus on laws according to which nothing can be done for prevention. For the reaction to ‘happen’, Russians have to cross the border of Ukraine. Even in this case we could probably talk about sanction lists of functionaries and nothing more (for instance, not global economic sanctions).
The third President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves in his article to the British daily The Telegraph (of 30 April) indicated that some European capitals (maybe not accidentally) encourage but not subdue aggression of the Kremlin. Europe has been attacked; thus, solidarity of partners is necessary.
However, Germany is concentrating on the parliamentary election in September; the President of France Emanuel Macron is also getting ready for a new election cycle when after a year it seems it will have to fight the nationalist Marina Le Pen. The experienced Mark Rutte in the Netherlands was by all means trying to form a coalition for the sake of staying in power, the Prime Minister of Italy a technocrat Mario Draghi had to be worried about the weakened economy. And so on and so forth.
This is a new precedent of the ‘everlasting Schröderism’ (the Kremlin simply bought the former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schröder for lobbyism by making him a Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the concern and since 2017 appointed him as a Chairman of the Board of Directors of ), when information about transfer of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria Karin Kneissl to the Board of Directors of in March appeared in public domain. The politician was a Minister since December 2017 and had to resign after the extreme right Party of Freedom that delegated her got into the corruption scandal. In February 2018, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin took part in the wedding party of Karin Kneissl and danced with a bride.
To the contrary what has been set forth hereinabove, it seems that the solidarity visit of the three Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Baltic States to the attacked (being attacked) Ukraine on 15 April, during which the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba in his welcoming speech during the general press conference told: ‘I am happy to welcome the Baltic colleagues and friends here in Kiev in the background of temporarily occupied lands escalated by Russia. We will necessarily be united, we are not afraid of Moscow threats, don’t even expect’.
P.S. The fact that a rather serious resolution was made in the EP unanimously on 29 April in case Russia starts an open aggression against Ukraine proves that not everything is questionable. The resolution for the first time talks about increasing military assistance to Ukraine, a possibility to disconnect Russia from an international payment system SWIFT and stop import of its energy resources (oil and natural gas). Besides, it also indicates a necessity to stop a construction of project ‘North Stream-2’ and talks against doubtful projects of the Russian concern in Europe.
Again: non-members of the Community such as the UAS, Canada and Norway were invited to take part in the EU security and defence program on 8 May for the first time. As Head of the diplomacy of the EU Joseph Borelli indicated in this regard that the reality was that we have to prepare in the world and new threats are probable that can be coped with only acting together.
Some more hopeful signs: the EU delegation announced on 8 May that it paid 40,000 Georgian laris (9,668 Euros) as a deposit for the arrested opposition leader of Georgia Nikanor Melia to be released. The Community expressed its expectation that this step would help to solve the political crisis after election in the Caucasian country that was seeking a Euro-Atlantic integration.
P. P. S. This is promising to eastern Europeans, too, who are not complaining but are acting. I will tell more about this in my next text ‘Lessons of Post-Soviet Solidarity’.
Arūnas Spraunius

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