Blog Analysis

Against Ukraine, Barroso plays a draw

(BRUSSELS2) The President of the European Commission, José-Manuel Barroso, contented himself today with a press release on the situation in Ukraine. A press release in which he declares himself "afflicted" by the situation, asks for the "immediate end to the violence" and calls for "specific responsibility of the Ukrainian government to avoid violence and ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms". In substance, it's good. In form, it leaves something to be desired.

Faced with the upheavals that are brewing in Ukraine, it is even a little weak. The President of the European Commission could have taken the trouble to come, in person, in front of the press to express in a strong way what he thought. Which would certainly have given his declaration a little more weight and solemnity. « It's a communication choice. », retorted his spokesperson when I asked him the question. « The President is monitoring the situation closely. He will communicate in the most appropriate way in the future. » That's a bit of a short answer...

A political mistake

Sorry, for us it's not about "communication" but about "policy" and even "values". Being unable to be present in the flesh, in the face of an important event taking place on European borders, is not a "choice", it is a political "fault" (*). We could have expected a little more presence from the European Commission which, for several months, defended the need for an association agreement with Ukraine. At the same time, the High Representative, Catherine Ashton rather had the right reflexes by urgently convening a Council of Foreign Ministers. It's true that she didn't have much choice...

In the absence of a Commission kicking in, it is the "Weimar" ministerial troika in the person of the French (Fabius), German (Steinmeier) and Polish (Sikorski) Ministers of Foreign Affairs who will go tomorrow (Wednesday) to Kiev to come remind the Ukrainian president of values ​​and assure the opposition of his support. MEPs - of all tendencies - also took their pilgrim's staff to go to kyiv on Thursday.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) Some explain this position as very subtle, on the contrary, to leave the "hands" to the Member States, for example. It is an explanation. But it is not really admissible.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).