Does the EU really exist?

The past few days have seen heated discussions across Europe. Poland has once again become the bane of the European Union. The leaders of the EU have been meeting to discuss opening discussions with Russia (to take place in Helsinki) regarding the energy question. However, Poland vetoed any further EU-Russia negotiations. The country that was supposed to be EU’s “Eastern expert” has now become the spanner in the works, the unruly child, the unreliable element.

KielbasaPoland is standing firm. The government says that it cannot give the go-ahead to further EU negotiations with its eastern neighbour if Russia continues to ban imports on Polish meat. All this fuss about Polish sausage?

Poland believes Russia is singling it out and treating it differently from the other EU states. Poland also believes the EU has shown its true colours and is not ready to fight for one of their partners. Where is this famous EU solidarity? A similar situation took place with the Baltic states. They soon backed down realising that Russia is a far more important player than they are. But how can this be? How can the EU ignore its own member states? The answer is, of course, green in colour. Money. Money and power. Russia’s massive potential (especially in energy) is a far more important factor in any future EU relations than Poland’s unruliness.

There is no solidarity in the EU and I’m pretty convinced there never will be. I actually hope Poland stand firm and test the Union to its limits. Negotiation is, no doubt, the key to diplomacy, but this over-bureaucratic institution needs to be fundamentally tested. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty is the EU ready to stand as one? This, I believe, will be a benchmark and tell us all we need to know about the future of the EU Constitution and a future United States of Europe.

Or we’ll see Poland back down…

7 thoughts on “Does the EU really exist?

  1. As far as I’m concerned Russia is not pleased with Poland’s active participation in bringing democracy (and dollars or euros instead of rubles) to Ukraine, Bellarussia and further on. The meat embargo and the pipeline on Baltic seem to be a “lesson” to me.

  2. I have been saying this since Polen and the other Vysehrad countries started accession talks… Poland has had too much unpleasant experience of other countries’ ‘big ideas’ about super-national polities, and has spent too little of its own history in charge of its own affairs. It is a large, well-defined nation with a cultural heritage too strong for Napoleon, Stalin, Bismarck or Hitler to erase, and will not take any nonsense from Brussels. Oddly, the views of many Poles I know seem to coincide with those of British ‘Euro-sceptics’, regarding the EU as an unlovely necessity, a marriage of convenience; and like them, they tend (fairly or unfairly) to see the EU as a Franco-German stitch-up, which they are not prepared to tolerate. I have often said that a Poland/England axis (note I say ‘England’, and not the UK – the Scots, Welsh etc. seem to be better Europeans than we English) will serve as a hefty and probably necessary counterbalance to France/Germany. We’ll see.

    Do you ever read these, Rafster? 😀

  3. Do I ever read these? Of course I do, my dear fellow. When I was scribbling these thoughts down I actually thought of your good self and a few other friends who seem to think the same. It’s not that Poland isn’t happy it’s just – as you say – Poland wants to be in control of it’s own fate sometimes at the cost of what is actually best for it. However, in this particular situation I think the Poles have got it spot on. I’d love for Angleterre and Pologne to get together. They have more in common (mentality-wise) than most people think, but I can’t see it happening yet.

  4. Ah yes, the perennial myth of ‘independence’. One can see why that’s an important concept for Poles, given their history, but the reality of today’s world is that true independence doesn’t exist – every important country (and most of the unimportant ones) are in hock to something else, either supra-national institutions like the EU, or big brothers like the USA or Russia. Even the looniest states in the world like Burma, North Korea or Cuba have to do some deals with places like China to keep from starving to death.

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