Monday, August 11, 2008

The EU moves at its usual speed

The French EU Presidency, we are told by EUObserver, is preparing to call an emergency EU "summit" on the Russia-Georgia "conflict" (when does it become a war?) at Poland's request. This is how the EU functions and why it is impossible to use that organization and any other tranzi for the development of foreign policy, quite apart from the fact that there is no EU policy on the Caucasus.

Russia is bombing cities inside Georgia, including the outskirts of Tbilisi, and has sunk at least one Georgian boat in Georgian waters. Gori is being evacuated and the Baku-Tbilisi oil pipeline has been bombed though not, apparently, put out of action.

The EU, the body that demands that it becomes our sole representative on the international scene is preparing to call an emergency meeting of foreign ministers and this will take place, possibly, on Wednesday. Or possibly not.

"The proposal of [Polish] prime minister Donald Tusk to hold a meeting of the European council at the level of heads of government has been accepted. We don't know the date yet," Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, said at a press briefing in Warsaw on Saturday.

"There is...a possibility a formal summit will take place in Brussels later in the week," Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, told Swedish news agency TT.
It seems that Wednesday will probably be the day after French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner and his Finnish colleague, Alexander Stubb, return from Tbilisi.

Meanwhile, other countries who have a clearer understanding of what Russia might do next, have been speaking up.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland called on the European Union and NATO to oppose Russia's "imperialist" policy towards Georgia.

And even countries such as Sweden, which was not part of the Soviet bloc, expressed extreme concern at the conflict, making comparisons to Adolf Hitler's tactics as leader of Nazi Germany.

Russia has in turn been vocal in criticising neighbours such as Ukraine, which it accused of "encouraging" Georgia to attack the separatist region of South Ossetia.

"The EU and NATO must take the initiative and stand up against the spread of imperialist and revisionist policy in the east of Europe," the leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland said in a joint statement.
Ukraine has plenty to worry about, being the next on the shopping list. After all, former President, now Prime Minister, Putin has always made it clear that he intended to restore the Soviet geopolitical territory and, in particular, he was anxious to take back the two biggest ones that got away: Ukraine and Georgia. Obviously, he meant that, if necessary, it will be done by force.

Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, has demanded a very strong response from the European Union. That will be a little hard to achieve with Germany being so dependent on Russian gas and with other West European states being more anxious "to stand up to America" than pay attention to what is going on next door to it. Well may Ukraine and the Balts worry.