Question: What can you say about the EU Council’s January 24 statement on European security, which depicted Russia as the main troublemaker in Europe?
Alexey Zaitsev: The “conclusions” of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on January 24 confirmed that the EU has an extremely ideological approach to the new world order. Obviously prompted by the anti-Russian wing, the text was written in a confrontational style and follows Cold War patterns. Meaningful analysis and perception of European security problems have been replaced with politicised assessments. There is an obvious reluctance to address the root causes of the deteriorating situation and to understand that NATO’s unrestrained expansion is clearly dangerous. Instead, the EU promotes a “trench” philosophy and wants to present everything in the friend-or-foe paradigm (or ally-adversary, to use the current terms).
All this runs counter to the principle of indivisible security that was set forth and repeatedly affirmed by the EU countries and in OSCE documents adopted at the top level, including the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, the 1999 European Security Charter and the 2010 Astana summit declaration.
The EU’s “conclusions” are permeated with hypocrisy. It is emphasised that “spheres of influence” are unacceptable in the 21st century. That said, a number of EU functionaries openly declare that the Western Balkans belong to the EU (President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said this at the EU-Western Balkans summit on May 6, 2020). Or that “whenever we are present in the region, there is no space for others” (as former Head of EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini told ambassadors of the EU countries on September 3, 2018). In one-on-one conversations, EU officials bluntly say that Mali and the CAR are the EU’s “backyard.” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also said that after the departure of the US and NATO, it is necessary to prevent Afghanistan from falling into the hands of Russia and China.
In essence, the issue of European security is reduced to Ukraine. The pathological inability to acknowledge its mistake of supporting the Ukrainian coup d’etat in 2014 and stop openly abetting the Kiev authorities that are discriminating against Russian speakers, is preventing the EU from facilitating the settlement of the internal Ukrainian conflict (via direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk). It doesn’t allow the EU to take a broad view of the situation in Europe either. It also prevents the EU from understanding that the implementation of the Russian proposals on the legally binding security guarantees from the US and NATO will create the necessary conditions for the stable development of all countries of our common continent (regardless of their membership in military blocs or unions). It will also enhance European security, thereby allowing the EU to ensure its required strategic autonomy and independence.
The “conclusions” lay special emphasis on the principles of territorial integrity and the non-use or threat of force. The EU should recall at this point the 78 days of barbarous bombing of Yugoslavia by some of its members in 1999. They dropped cluster bombs and rounds with depleted uranium, killing 2,500 people, including 89 children.
We are surprised by the EU’s call for dialogue after it unilaterally decided to immediately freeze the entire diverse system of cooperation with Russia in 2014, including in foreign policy and security. It refuses to engage in top-level contacts or discussion of security issues.
Simply put, the EU’s desire to take part in discussing Russian proposals on security guarantees looks strange against the backdrop of such “conclusions.”