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Schadenfreude – The EU was blind to Russian threat when reaching out to Ukraine

The Russian experts – if there are any in Brussels – should have known that the EU was wandering dangerously into Russia’s sphere of influence, says our secret columnist in Brussels Schadenfreude

“What fools these mortals be,” says Puck in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. He got it right.

It was a springtime dream. The April edition of Consilium, the in-house journal of the Council of Ministers Secretariat, reports: “Much work by colleagues went into preparing the 3,400 pages of the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement. Its political provisions were finally signed in the margins of the European Council on March 21, in a demonstration of EU solidarity with Ukraine’s aspiration for a country governed by values, democracy and the rule of law. The remainder, establishing a free trade area with Ukraine, is due to be signed soon.”

How could EU diplomacy be so blind? Ukraine is none of the things lavishly attributed to it. And the Russian experts – if there are any in Brussels – should have known that the EU was wandering dangerously into Russia’s sphere of influence.

Surely the diplomatic representatives of the member states stationed in Kiev and in Moscow should have warned Brussels that taking Ukraine into the EU’s backyard – what with association, free trade, regular meetings of a joint committee alternating in Brussels and Kiev, the mysterious “political provisions” in the agreement and whatever else there is in the project – would be seen in Moscow as a deliberate provocation.

The best laid pans of mice and men gang aft agley (awry) according to the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Never have those words been so apt.

  1. Please remember that the Association Agreement was negotiated during the last year by the president Yanukovich itself, and the required conditions were fulfilled by Ukraine governed by his goverment before December 2013. I do not remember any signs of severe protests from the Ukrainian citizens against these plans. Why you accuse EU? It was the clear will of Ukraine. Nobody from outside pressed them to enter into negotiations with EU.

    Comment by Barbara P. on May 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm
  2. “The best laid plans …”, not “pans”, is what Burns has written.

    Comment by George on May 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm
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