Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Muddled may be one word of describing it

Following on from my previous posting about the impossibility of an EU foreign policy (though still not taking up Mr Lucas's challenge directly) this blog's attention has been called to an interesting item on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) site:
The European Commission is questioning whether to drop its European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and appears open to the possibility of closer cooperation with Russia.

The possibilities, spelled out in a draft document seen by RFE/RL, are part of an effort to come up by this autumn with concrete proposals for reforming the ENP.

The draft document, titled Towards A New Neighborhood Policy, will be presented to EU states on March 4 by foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini and Neighborhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
It would appear from the article that the document asks questions rather than makes suggestions and the details may well be changed before March 4 (that is, tomorrow). Perhaps, the document should have been presented on March 5, the anniversary of Stalin's death but that might have been too full of symbolism. Let us simply note that in the wake of Boris Nemtsov's assassination within 200 meters of the Kremlin and while Russian ... how shall I put it? ... interest? .... involvement? ... in eastern Ukraine, the territory of a sovereign state, continues the EU's foreign policy High Panjandrum thinks that the best way forward is to have closer relations with Russia. (For the benefit to some of my readers I should point out that the alternative to having closer relations with a country one distrusts is not necessarily going to war with it.)

Not that it is such a bad idea to review and, perhaps, to abandon the European Neighbourhood Policy as it makes very little sense in its present form - there is no sense to having the same arrangements with countries that are very different. However, as I pointed out in that posting, the EU finds it quite difficult to have a policy that is not a generalized regional one because it finds it quite hard to have a common foreign policy not having a common foreign interest.

In view of recent developments in and around Russia it will be interesting to see that this new, rather desperate proposal for a common policy, which does not consult the UK's interests, will be just another attempt at appeasement or will come up with some rational suggestions. At present it looks like the former or neither, rational ideas not being part of the High Panjandrum's arsenal.

In the meantime, the House of Lords Grand Committee has debated and agreed to the Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

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