Will the EU even be around, by the time the Ukraine fulfils the strict criteria to join the Brussels club?
Pushed strongly by Macron, the Ukraine’s first steps to become an EU member state kick off soon in Brussels. But will the EU even be around, by the time the Ukraine fulfils the strict criteria to join the Brussels club?
It might take a decade for Ukraine to even join the EU club, but Macron and others are upbeat about Ukraine becoming an EU member state, ahead of a key vote by all 27-member states in Brussels. In reality, the grandiose, if not desperate move pushed by the French president, won’t go through as at least three member states have said already that they won’t back it. But what’s the real story behind this somewhat banal plan to make Ukraine a member of the European Union? Is there a hidden agenda?
Well of course there is. It is simply that in 2028 Macron is hotly tipped to be running the EU. In this year, two top jobs will become vacant in Brussels – European Commission President and European Council of Ministers chief – and he is an obvious choice to take one of them. Macron’s dream is that before then, France takes a leading role – if not the leading role – within the EU and that the bloc’s so-called ‘foreign policy’ is more or less run by him and his team. So what’s the link?
In a nutshell, federalists like Macron dream of an EU which punches above its weight and despite the Maastricht treaty in 1992 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, the EU’s efforts to garner more power away from member states towards Brussels haven’t amounted to much in practical terms. On paper, the EU has a considerable amount of clout on the international circuit in terms of peacekeeping and humanitarian stuff. You know the sort of thing.
But in real terms whenever the EU wants to actually soldier ahead with something big, right at the last moment member states themselves hold back from pressing the button and block the move. This explains why only a couple of weeks into the Ukraine war, Macron himself went in person to visit Putin while the EU’s top diplo wonk, Josep incredibly-boring Borrell went to Washington to give a joint press conference with his left-wing US president. That tells you all you need to know about the EU’s real powers when it comes to the international stage. The EU’s top foreign policy chief didn’t go to Moscow as probably Putin wouldn’t have received him as, to be fair, Borrell hasn’t really much to say and no real power to do anything.
But all that could change if Macron could convince a handful of leaders of EU governments – and even a few not in the EU itself like the UK and Turkey – to sign up to his new bold plan of a security pact which would more or less be an EU venture but run by him and which would certainly have at its heart an EU army. Federalist-minded leaders like Macron strongly believe that the way for a failed project like the EU to gain more power is not via the ballot box through having in place an impressive model of governance. Oh no. What they believe is the only way to have more power is to take it. And this is at the heart of what the whole EU army is all about. Take more power, be seen to be more relevant, dominate the front pages of newspapers – and certainly those who are in your pocket anyway like the FT and the Economist – and act like a real player, a contender.
What’s wrong with that? Quite a lot in fact. The EU has not experience whatsoever in such a role and it would be very risky for it to endeavour to play at being a superpower especially when it is so accident prone and likely to hit a number of obstacles to getting involved with international conflicts to feed its almost sexual fascination for war. Given the track record of the euro, Brexit, Covid and a number of other failed policies, should it really be allowed to go ahead and have an army which Macron would command and send to places to further France’s, er sorry, the EU’s interests? Of course, this would absolute madness and could lead to a world war if one of these operations backfires.
And here’s where Ukraine comes in. The West’s policy to date is not thought through and cannot sustain the mileage involved in a war of attrition would could last a couple of years. More and more money is wasted on arms, inflation sours in EU countries, fuel costs double while economies spiral. And all this as a direct result of sanctions against Russia. Someone didn’t have any long-term planning or a contingency plan. If the EU itself were to have taken control of it, assume the thinking and strategizing to be even more ill-conceived but on a much bigger scale. From Russia’s perspective an EU army, which would be considerable in size and well-equipped would be a bigger threat than today’s shambles of the West just sending hardware, which in reality is probably being sold on the black market which in turn fuels Putin’s military machine. The West is not only losing on all levels, but at a considerable speed and it is only a matter of months before the realities of their foolhardy ruse to strike at Putin will be universally seen by their electorates before the whole shambolic scam is seen for what it is. Ironically, Macron is thinking big. And he’s thinking long-term. But the idea that he runs the EU and has an army made up of a good number of EU countries, along with their equipment, should keep you awake at night. Would you give your four year-old alone in the house with a gallon jerry can full of gasoline, a box of matches and expect your house to still be standing? This, in a nutshell, is really what the Ukraine vote for accession is all about. It’s utter madness.
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
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