The EU Vindicates Itself Before Biden And Putin: "You Can’t Talk About Europe Without Europe"

“Nothing about us without us”, affirms the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, in a conversation with elDiario.es. It is the mantra that the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy repeats to his American counterpart, Anthony Blinken: “Nothing about Europe can be discussed without the assistance of the European Union,” he insists: “There cannot be a Yalta 2, if anything, a Helsinki 2 “.

Borrell resorts to the historical moment in which the great powers divided Europe after the end of the Second World War. But the Europe of 2021 is not the one of 1945. It is not a devastated continent that has just defeated Nazism and fascism with the help of the US and the USSR, which built areas of influence on the debris of war. The Europe of 2021 aspires to be a player, not a playing field, it aspires to have a full place among the geopolitical powers – the US, Russia and China – without risking the transatlantic link, reinforced with the arrival of Joe Biden. to the White House and, above all, the departure of Donald Trump.

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The head of European diplomacy, in that “nothing about us without us” says: “If anything, a Helsinki 2.” And he insists on the “if anything.” The EU is aware that the geostrategic position of the EU needs to be reviewed, and the strategic compass of the High Representative expected to be approved by EU leaders in March: a strategic compass which will have a rapid intervention force of 5,000 soldiers.

And that geostrategic review, according to the EU, should resemble, “if at all”, the Helsinki process of 1973-1975, when the United States, Canada, the Soviet Union and all European countries (including Turkey and excluding Albania and Andorra ) drew up the Declaration of Helsinki, which was created by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The Declaration of Helsinki was a non-binding Decalogue that recognized the sovereignty of States; it established the abstention from resorting to the threat or use of force; it recognized the inviolability of borders and the territorial integrity of states; as well as the commitment to settle disputes by peaceful means; non-intervention in the internal affairs of States; respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; in addition to the right to self-determination of the peoples; cooperation between states; and compliance in good faith with the obligations of international law.

Is a similar process needed in the 21st century? What is clear in Brussels is that something has to happen so that the new Cold War that is being unleashed with Russia does not turn into a hot war with Ukraine as the battlefield.

On the eve of Christmas Eve, Borrell spoke by phone with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba to discuss the security situation in Eastern Europe in light of the Russian military concentration in Ukraine. According to the High Representative’s cabinet, he “emphasized that any new military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and serious costs”, in line with what was agreed by EU leaders at the last European Council, on December 16. And he recalled the Declaration of Helsinki: “Any real debate on security in Europe must be based on and strengthen the commitments and obligations of the OSCE and the UN, true pillars of the European security architecture. The EU remains committed to the rights of every country to make its sovereign decisions on foreign and security policy. “

Helsinki, but not Yalta 2. “Nothing about us without us”. Indeed, in a similar conversation with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, Borrell picked up an eloquent phrase in his press release: “Both [Blinken y Borrell] they agreed that any discussion on security in Europe will be carried out in coordination and with the participation of the European Union. “

Both Washington and Brussels addressed another European issue related to another geopolitical rival that greatly worries the United States, China: “They also highlighted [Blinken y Borrell] their concerns about escalating political pressure and economic coercion from the People’s Republic of China against Lithuania, which are affecting both US and European companies. “

However, the conflict that may escalate is that between Russia and Ukraine. Community services have up to six possible scenarios on the table, covering all kinds of possibilities. “Imagine that France said that it does not recognize Spain as an independent country”, reflects a diplomatic source, “and that it takes 100,000 soldiers to the Pyrenees with all kinds of weapons. What would the Spanish think? Well, that’s how the Ukrainians are, with 100,000 soldiers Russians on their border. “

Meanwhile, Moscow alleges that its borders are no longer secure, while the former Soviet republics approach NATO and, it maintains, the Western presence is behind anti-Russian movements in Ukraine – where the Kremlin has an open conflict over Donbas (the Donets basin), in addition to the annexation of Crimea ten years ago (2011), among others -, or Belarus.

Thus, Vladimir Putin, has put conditions on the table for de-escalation that are complicated for the US, the EU and NATO. This Thursday, he questioned: “And do you demand any guarantees from me? It is you who must give us guarantees. You, immediately, now. And not to bog down the negotiations for decades,” Putin said during his massive annual press conference, reports Efe , in which he announced that negotiations with the West will begin in mid-January 2022 in Geneva, the city where the summit with US President Joe Biden already took place in the middle of the year.

“Have we put missiles near the US border? No! It is the US that has come to our house with their missiles, and they are already on the threshold,” Putin said: “How would the Americans react if we suddenly deployed our missiles on the border between Canada and the United States or on the border between Mexico and the United States? “

Putin stressed that Russia’s next actions will depend on the guarantees it receives from the West, which he accused of deceiving Moscow by accepting several countries from Eastern Europe and the former post-Soviet space. “We told them: don’t do it. You promised us that you wouldn’t do it. And you told us: where is it written? No, then, leave with fresh wind! Your concerns don’t matter to us. And so year after year (. ..) One, two, three, four, five. Five waves of NATO enlargement, “he said, about the entry of the three Baltic republics and other countries such as Poland or Romania.

“The ball is in their court. They must answer us. The Americans say they are ready to start this discussion, these negotiations, at the beginning of the year in Geneva. The representatives of both parties have already been appointed,” he said.

Russia pays 10 billion to Ukraine, a country it does not recognize – Putin himself blamed Lenin on Wednesday for creating the Soviet Republic of Ukraine in 1922 instead of including the territory in that of Russia – for transporting gas through its territory to Western Europe. And, meanwhile, Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline between Germany and Russia built by Gazprom and headed by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, continues to pause due to geopolitical fears in a large part of the eastern countries of the European Union, such as Poland. or the Baltic countries.

Of course, in the midst of gas price crisis throughout Europe, Gazprom, diplomatic sources acknowledge, keeps the tap contained, instead of giving free rein to increase supply, which would lower prices. In this sense, a fear among European leaders is that Russia uses Ukraine’s half gas tap to press in favor of Nord Stream 2.

Meanwhile, the new German government of Olaf Scholz has not yet finished deciding on the future of an increasingly delicate infrastructure at a time of growing tension between the EU and Russia.

Just ten days ago, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated before the European Council on December 16: “We have all seen the massive accumulation of Russian military personnel along the eastern border of Ukraine, and also the attempt to destabilize Ukraine from within. I want to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future. “

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