The EU is on the self- destructive path
The current confrontation between the West and Russia is not like the Cold War. Lately I have often been asked about the prospects of the EU's course towards Russia. Given the recent trade and economic relations, cultural exchanges, and close people-to-people contacts that have linked us and the Western countries, many people sincerely believe that the Iron Curtain imposed by the EU and its total isolation from Russia are temporary phenomena. They say that even during the Cold War there was no such level of confrontation. And that is true – well, at that time there was no European Union (the latter was established by the Maastricht Treaty, which came into force only in 1993), there was an economic community of Western European countries. Perhaps this is the clue to understanding why the EU is where it is today and what can be expected of it in the future.
And now the EU bureaucracy leads the dance
I will start with the main point: the current trends in Brussels and the patterns of EU foreign policy suggest that the European Union as everyone knew it and got used to it no longer exists and will never exist again. Moreover, the EU is on a steady decline. Let me explain why.
The union, which used to be a purely integrative association with the primary aim of ensuring a high socio-economic standard of living for Europeans, developing a single market and increasing the bloc's competitiveness, has in recent years transformed into a deeply ideological alliance serving the interests of the Brussels bureaucracy and, indeed, globalist lobbyists, mainly American.
In order to make the latter feel more comfortable, the EU supranational bodies, first and foremost the European Commission, continue to shift the balance of power in their favour (actually significantly expanding their mandate) to the detriment of the European capitals, thus contributing to the erosion of their sovereignty. Put simply, Brussels is consistently seeking independence to set and even impose an EU agenda, rather than helping to shape it on the basis of consensus decisions agreed by Member States.
The "Russian threat" as a pretext for EU transformation
While at first the growing influence of EU bodies was justified by the need to find effective responses to numerous crises (above all the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences), now it is being extended mainly under the pretext of the "Russian threat".
The slogan of “countering Russia” is now being used by those forces in the European institutions that have long dreamed of "reshaping" the foundations of the EU functioning to suit their own opportunistic aims. This is most evident in the enlargement policy, which has taken on a geopolitical flavour that has nothing to do with integration. Loyalty, often contrary to the national interests of aspiring candidates, has become the main criterion for assessing their readiness to join the EU.
The same guise is being used to speed up Kiev's accession to the EU, with no regard for the long-term economic costs for the entire association and for European capitals. The decision to open accession talks with Ukraine, which is irrational for the EU, has a clear logic for the European Commission, which hopes to significantly expand its own powers in this way.
For this very purpose, the European Commission is preparing the EU countries to implement the so-called "internal reforms necessary for a new enlargement of the European Union", which should include abandoning the veto right of the EU countries in the European Council. This would deprive the European states of the possibility to block Brussels' decisions they find unacceptable.
The harder they work, the worse it gets
As the EU moves away from Russian energy sources, it has entered a period of economic stagnation, industrial decline and social tension. At the same time, the imbalance in the EU economy caused by its militarisation keeps growing. Moreover, the path taken to accelerate the conversion of the economy may benefit the defence industry, albeit elsewhere than in Europe.
Meanwhile, the EU has abandoned the sort of "division of labour" with the North Atlantic Alliance that existed over the past decades. Security issues have always been NATO's prerogative. The actual merger of the two blocs has dragged the EU into dealing with purely NATO tasks.
The mounting uncertainty around the upcoming European Parliament elections in June 2024 and then the US presidential elections is already prompting an unprecedented sweep of the local information landscape in order to distract voters from political and economic missteps.
These and other trends inevitably encourage a dilution of the original essence of the European project.
An urge to live at the expense of others
The EU is in an existential crisis in part because European integration has stopped developing inwards. The urge for global domination by imposing Brussels-style uniformity and artificially enforcing neo-liberal ideology throughout the globe has gained the upper hand. This policy is driven, above all, by a neo-colonial and consumerist attitude towards the outside world. However, all this is presented under the plausible guise of creating a "geopolitical Europe" that sees itself as a benefactor of third countries.
In reality, the EU's aim is to make others pay for its own development, in particular to invest in ensuring the "green" and digital transition. Particular emphasis is placed on the use of tools such as sanctions (or sometimes protectionist measures), which have become a universal way for the EU to build relations with third countries (even if we leave aside the "Russian context").
The EU's final and decisive battle
Since the start of the Russian special military operation, Brussels has made our country the focus of its aggressive neo-imperialist expansion. The goal of defeating us and gaining unlimited access to our resources was the EU's strategic mistake from the very beginning. The EU missed the main point in its calculations – it failed to foresee that Moscow would not only reject such an attitude towards itself and its vital interests, but would also respond in a harsh manner. They have forgotten how badly each new "Drang nach Osten" ended for the West.
As the EU realised the collapse of the "economic blitzkrieg" planned against Russia, Brussels began to lose its sense of reality, to undermine its integration foundations, and to push too hard in its contacts with the outside world. In the end, the European Union, having thrown literally all the resources at its disposal – political, economic, diplomatic, military, information – into the confrontation with our country, has trapped itself in tying its fate to the outcome of our special military operation.
Yet it should be clear that the EU’s utterly aggressive response to the special military operation is not an opportunistic "overreaction" of any kind. Alas, for many in Brussels, the confrontation with Russia is the first and last chance to assert themselves at our expense, to force the European capitals to keep an anti-Russian line (just the way Germany “accepted” the blowing up of Nord Stream 2), and to make third countries scared.
For decades, the West has been accumulating its annoyance at the fact that we are not what it thought we should have become after the collapse of the USSR – and now this irritation is providing Brussels with an excuse to opt for a global confrontation with Russia. The US has certainly influenced the situation. But I think it would be wrong to attribute it all to the "Washington devil" who has led the Europeans astray.
So, in my opinion, the main conclusion is the following: the course taken by Brussels with regard to Russia is its conscious choice and a direct consequence of the neo-imperialist evolution of the European Union – we should not expect this transformation to end soon. The outcome of this process is not obvious either. All the more so as one of the possible scenarios could be the self-destruction of the EU.
Witnessing the end
The European elites feel the threat, but they are unwilling to step off the path they have chosen. Otherwise, they would have had to admit publicly that their anti-Russian policy was a mistake. Instead, they blame Russia for all their troubles, thereby bringing their own end closer.