A positive outcome.

collapsing EU

Ukraine fiasco marks end of the EU’s imperial dream

The EU, dedicated to eliminating national identity, has finally run up against the rock of a national interest that will not give way

Pro-Russian people celebrate in Simferopol's Lenin Square

Pro-Russian demonstrators in Crimea: the West’s leaders haven’t a clue what to do Photo: AP

By Christopher Booker

3:57PM GMT 22 Mar 2014

Normally when a country’s people give a referendum vote that the EU doesn’t like, they are just told to vote again to put it right. In the case of Crimea, however, where 96 per cent of the people voted to return to Russia, the EU was in no position to ask them to think again. Even if they did, considering that Crimea, where the tsars, Tolstoy and Chekhov used to spend their summers, has been part of Russia for most of the past 230 years, that 60 per cent of its people are ethnic Russians and that 82 per cent speak Russian at home, they would be unlikely to change their minds.

The hard fact is that, whatever we think of President Putin, this episode has been the most salutary fiasco the “European project” has ever brought upon itself in 60 years. It has always been driven by two paramount principles: one, that it can assume ever more power over the nations that belong to it; the other, that it can suck ever more of them into its embrace (echoed in David Cameron’s boast last year of how he saw the EU one day stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals”). But with Ukraine, their fantasy of an ever-expanding empire has hit the buffers.

For years the EU has been wooing Ukraine with that “Association Agreement” as the next step towards making it a full member. But by pushing its “soft power” right up to the Russian border, this strange organisation dedicated to eliminating national identity has finally run up against the rock of a national interest that will not give way.

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One Response

  1. Putin’s successful and mostly unbloody (one Ukrainian dead) annexation of the Crimea has exposed to the world, better than we EU-skeptics ever could, how laughably weak the EU is. They blustered and wagged their fingers and promised they would not sit “idly by”, and what happened? Russia’s got the Crimea and his penalty was a few pathetically weak sanctions. Just like how Obama’s bungling of Syria’s “red lines” made him an international laughing stock, so too will Ukraine be the EU’s Syria.

    I hope this has severe ramifications come this May. I know in Canada at least, our media is free to slam the failure of the EU to protect Ukraine. Way back when this crisis first hit in January, a commenter on Gates of Vienna posited that Putin would be the one to destroy the EU. I was skeptical of his theories, but maybe he was on to something. This isn’t over… things in Europe seem to be heating up fast in 2014, do you get that sense as well?

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