November 6, 2015
The fact that the EU is undergoing its most profound existential crisis ever is by now an open secret. The Greek debt crisis had produced a North-South divide in Europe, whereas the migrant crisis has prompted a rebellion against the EU leadership from Eastern bloc members. Nowadays, NATO itself is contributing to the existing divisions by bringing back to life the “Old Europe – New Europe” division of the Bush Jr. era.
Thus, on the 3rd and 4th of November, NATO has organized a “ Presidents’ Summit “ which took place behind closed doors in Bucharest. The meeting was attended by nine presidents of EU member countries from Central and Eastern Europe, and resulted in a declaration which could rightly be called an anti-Juncker document. The final document stressed the need to strengthen ties with the United States and stand united against “Russian aggressiveness”.
It is an undisputed fact that the EU’s eastern and southern borders are far from secure as a result of the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. Both conflicts were ignited by American covert operations or outright military intervention in those regions, which have very little to do – if at all – with EU foreign or neighbourhood policies’ objectives.
Still, the EU is paying the price for American foreign policy amateurism, which is what has prompted Juncker and Merkel’s recent overtures towards Russia and Turkey. To be sure, Juncker’s declaration concerning Russia and Merkel’s visit to Turkey are by and large part of a PR exercise meant to soothe the leadership in Moscow and Ankara and maybe pave the way for a reset of the EU’s relations with the two countries.
The summit in Bucharest went largely ignored in the international media because of the current street protests in the Romanian capital. By reviving Rumsfeld’s “New Europe” concept, however, and by trying to pitch the leaders of Central and Eastern European countries against the president of the European Commission, the Americans are contributing plenty towards aggravating the rifts that threaten the very existence of the EU. Whilst this might not be their ultimate intention, the outcome of the latest NATO strategy in Europe is going to hurt transatlantic ties more than it would stunt Juncker and Merkel’s efforts to patch up relations with Russia or Turkey.Florian Pantazi