Senior Vice President, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA, Warsaw and Washington)
Pitifully asking for serious treatment, Europe is only moving away from this goal. The European authorities need to understand this. During the week when the United States and Russia are deciding the future of the region without the participation of Europeans, it becomes clear that the EU institutions and major countries are weak and powerless.
This fact is not overlooked. During a belated visit to eastern Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, “Yalta is over,” a 1945 agreement between Western allies and Stalin’s Soviet Union that divided Europe into spheres of influence.
It is too early to say that the gloomy era is returning, but it is clear where to look for those responsible for Europe’s weakness: in its own capitals.
It was not the United States that forced European allies (almost all) to chronically underfund defense. They did it with their own hands because they were greedy, greedy and naive.
It was not the United States that forced Europe to consolidate its dependence on Russian natural gas by building two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Europeans (especially Germans) did it with their own hands.
It was not the United States that forced Europe to neglect the Western Balkans (now the center of Russian and Chinese influence) and countries that are contemptuously called the “Eastern Neighborhood.” EU leaders did so because they were afraid to tell their constituents the truth: these states will not disappear, so it is better to get closer to them and make them richer.
I’M NOT SAYING WASHINGTON WAS DOING THE RIGHT THING. I AM JUST POINTING OUT THAT EUROPE HAS CREATED ALMOST ALL ITS PROBLEMS FOR ITSELF. IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING. IT SHOULD START WITH RESPONDING TO PRESSURE FROM THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY
It was not the United States that forced Europe to fail with migration, economic reform, pandemic response, internal harmony, and many other areas that paralyzed and hampered decision-making.
I emphasize that I am not saying that everything was done right in Washington. I am just pointing out that Europe has created almost all its problems for itself.
It’s not too late to change everything. It should start with responding to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party against Lithuania. Vilnius has boldly ignored the taboo on diplomatic relations and other activities that the derisive Beijing imposes on the rest of the world, and, conversely, has strengthened ties with Taiwan. The Chinese regime has not only imposed direct sanctions on Lithuania, but is also trying to put pressure on it through other EU countries. Any goods imported from Europe that contain Lithuanian components may be blacklisted.
Brussels is currently reacting with shameful inaction. EU leaders did not discuss the issue at a recent summit. Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, did not even mention the attack on Europe’s single market in his first telephone conversation with Xi Jinping. It should be noted that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Burbock made harsh remarks during her recent visit to Washington, but the problem is that German industry is irreversibly moving in another direction.
France is a commendable exception: it is currently the EU member state with the greatest geopolitical ambitions, taking over the EU’s six-month presidency this year. The French are in favor of a harsh and immediate response to China’s economic pressure. It would be good if these words were further supported by actions.
If the EU countries and institutions do dare to respond harshly to China’s divide-and-rule tactics, make up for Lithuania’s losses and impose sanctions on Chinese exporters, two changes can be expected. First, it has long been necessary to intensify opposition to the desperate attempts of the Chinese Communist Party to determine order in the world. Second, Europeans will appear to be a major force in global politics. Powerful people in Washington, Beijing, and even Moscow will change their views. And this is a great start.
The trade dispute between Lithuania and China over the opening of Taiwan’s official office in Vilnius led to its rapprochement with Taipei. The island nation has announced a $ 200 million investment fund to help its Baltic partner. Taiwan’s investment plans have not yet been fixed. This will be preceded by research conducted by a group of Taiwanese experts over the next few months. However, in an interview with the American newspaper Politico, the country’s diplomatic representative in Vilnius said that Lithuania could even become a gateway for Taiwan’s entry into the EU semiconductor market. During the pandemic, European manufacturers faced a severe shortage of microchips. In particular, this is felt in the automotive industry. Any mention of such cooperation is important, Politico observers say.