Will the British referendum wake up the EU?

Image: GED-project.de

Image: GED-project.de 

Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

If the European Union wants to survive it must be more than a union of “coal and steel.” Or only a union of bankers and traders. It must also be a project for the supporters and defenders of values. (The European Coal and Steel Community, a predecessor of the EU, was an international agency designed to integrate the coal and steel industries in western Europe after WW II — Ed.).

Great Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union is seen by many Ukrainian observers as a blow to our interests primarily because they view the situation from the perspective of Russian-European relations. Great Britain was one of the harshest critics of Russia and has consistently advocated for maintaining sanctions against the aggressor. With its departure, the position of the countries that defend European values will be shaken.

But I would not exaggerate the British role. In order to understand what Great Britain could realistically do for us it is worth asking what it has done already as one of the guarantors of the Budapest Memorandum. Tough rhetoric is, of course, valuable. But practical actions are even more valuable. And London has always been very careful when it came to practical actions.

When it comes to extending sanctions, what is important is not the position of an individual country ( we have seen how the bloc of Russia’s supporters could not do anything), but the choice between economic expediency and political reality. And if this choice is made in favor of rejecting European values, no Great Britain whatsoever can be of any help. But the United States can help and has already helped.

However, what is most important is that the British referendum will “wake up” the European Union. For many of its leaders, the EU until now was a model of success that did not need to prove anything to anyone. This is why they treated the countries that wanted to become part of a common European home with lordly condescension. It is understandable why you, who are poor and miserable, want to join us, the rich and happy.

The rich can weep as well.

To demonstrate the viability of the European project it is not enough to simply state that it has no alternatives. There are alternatives. And the British referendum has demonstrated that very clearly. It will be necessary to fight for a united  Europe. And one of the important arguments for this struggle is that there are countries on the continent whose citizens are ready to take to the streets to defend the European choice.

The referendum in the UK is the counterargument. And the Maidan in Ukraine is the argument. The most important one of the past decade.

The European politicians did not want to understand or see this. They were  afraid of Putin. They began to curry favor with the enemy of Europe. They made plenty of mistakes — in the former Soviet Union, and in the Middle East, and in the migrant crisis.

And they received a punch in the nose. Not pleasant, is it? We also received the same from our European partners — totally undeserved. But for you — quite deserved.

If the European Union wants to survive, it must be more that a union of “coal and steel.” Or only a union of bankers and traders. It must also be the project of the supporters and defenders of values.

And that it cannot do without Ukraine.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Espreso TV

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  • Calibra

    “And that it cannot do without Ukraine.”

    Utter bullshit, we managed to do it without Ukraine for the past 70 years, we will manage another 70 years without Ukraine.

    • http://www.krantvannederland.nl/ Cees Boogaart

      Even Russia cannot do without Ukraine thats why when Ukraine turned towards EU, they started a hybrid war, like they did in Georgia, Chechnya and Moldova.

      • Calibra

        Also it ter bullshit, russia will also do just fine without ukraine

        • No Di Pietro Day

          Ukraine for Russia was forever and ever only a black hole
          Its only value is strategic

    • Pavel Bure

      The EU is not an exclusive country club. Personal prejudice is not a reason to keep them out.

      • Calibra

        Yes it is, EU membership is not a right.

        • Pavel Bure

          It’s in the interest of the EU members to have more trade and if the values of the EU can bring a neighbouring European country like Ukraine up to the EU’s level of success then they are morally obligated to do so. It will also provide more security for EU and further validate it.

          • Calibra

            And then you find out that those countries are only interested in EU funds and don’t give a crap about the rest

          • Pavel Bure

            That is why the funds need to tied to anti-corruption measures and other mutual positive outcomes. As this article points out Maidan was clear indication Ukraine is motivated. Helping them out now probably prevents worse things in the future.

          • Calibra

            Come back when they are on equal economic terms with the current members, I’m sick and tired of financing countries who first made a mess of themselves and then want our money.
            And maiden doesn’t proof jack sh1t, even at it height it wasn’t supported by a majority (Max 45% approval rating)

          • Pavel Bure


          • Calibra

            More like 80%

          • Pavel Bure
      • No Di Pietro Day

        It is not a question of prejudice
        but a question of “standards”
        to be achieved
        BEFORE to join the EU
        and not after with the EU help

        Was so for all new country entered in UE
        why wouldn’t be so also for Ukraine ?

        The EU is not a means to an end

  • No Di Pietro Day

    Big Mistake of UE
    was the expansion after 1990 pushed by the US
    expansion that has gone hand in hand with the NATO expansion
    Open EU to Ukraine
    would be only the repetition of a mistake