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For Josep Borrell, the divorce is consummated between Russians and Europeans. We must draw the consequences

(B2) In a message posted on his blog, this Sunday (7.02) the head of European diplomacy looks back on his visit to Moscow. Not without panache

  • This message has a triple interest. It reveals the tenor of certain vigorous exchanges, the acknowledgment of a deep divorce between Russia and Europe and calls for resolutely taking the measure of this aggressive attitude. Along the way, he comes to defend his role as a diplomat, castigating critics who are too easy.

The rejection of dialogue

Coming with the spirit of a diplomat, ready to resolve differences, Josep Borrell found in front of him a Russian leadership refusing to have " un more constructive dialogue ". Between a press conference aggressively organized " (read : The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell trapped in Moscow) and the expulsion of three European diplomats announced by surprise (read: With Moscow, diplomatic relations are complicated). For the head of European diplomacy, it is clear.

The divorce is consummated

« Europe and Russia separate. [...] Russia is gradually disconnecting from Europe and sees democratic values ​​as an existential threat ". Relations between the European Union and Russia were already at the lowest for a number of years. They are still deteriorated after recent developments related to the poisoning, arrest and conviction of Alexei Navalny ". The Russian authorities did not want to seize this " opportunity ». “It is regrettable and we will have to draw the consequences. ".

The hour of choice

Today, Europe is therefore at a turning point in its relations with Moscow. As the European Union, we will have to think carefully about the direction we want to take our relations with Russia and act in a united manner with determination “, Including by sanctions, he says. NB: This should be on the agenda for the next meeting of Foreign Ministers on Monday (22.02), as well as for the European Leaders' Summit in March.

Un updating diplomatic

This choice is not just a tactical or circumstantial choice, it is a " strategic choice ! A choice that will determine international power dynamics in the XNUMXst century ". Do the Europeans want to move forward? towards more cooperative or more polarized models ", based on " closed or freer societies »? And are they ready to influence these developments »?

Clearly, it is a question of determining a policy. In this case, it " requires a clear vision and objectives, intense diplomatic engagement, and our many means of external action and projection of influence ". Three elements that seem to be missing today.

The role of a diplomat is to take risks

Incidentally, Josep Borrell is ironic about those who are well sheltered " behind walls secured, howl with the wolves. " Calling others from the security of this position will not bring greater security to the EU. And that's not how I view my role as the EU's top diplomat ».

He advocates a diplomacy of action rather than a diplomacy of resentment. " We must [...] meet others on their own territory, just when negative events are unfolding. [...] I prefer that to having to react [after the fact] and wait for things to happen. “And to assume this choice:” If we want a safer world for tomorrow, we must be [...] ready to take risks. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Free translation by us

An eviction announced by surprise. The discussion with Sergei Lavrov “ has reached high levels of tension especially when the High Representative of the EU addressed the issue of human rights and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Navalny, as well as the opening of a full and impartial investigation into his assassination attempt ". The other many points of " désaccord ((Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Nagorno Karabagh, Syrian and Libyan crises) were discussed. Needless to say that the atmosphere was therefore not very warm. But the Russians had a surprise in store for their visitor. '“ à the very end of our meeting” which the Europeans learned “through social media », the expulsion of three European diplomats on the basis of « unsubstantiated allegations (read: With Moscow, diplomatic relations are complicated. Three European diplomats expelled). The straw that broke the camel's back for J. Borrell at the same time as a press conference that turned out to be a real trap.

Read to follow: The Navalny case: a textbook case for the European Magnitsky list? But not enough to block Russian gas and our sheet on the human rights sanctions regime

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).

One thought on “For Josep Borrell, the divorce is consummated between Russians and Europeans. We must draw the consequences"

  • “the divorce is consummated”!
    Moscow finds itself blocked by NATO, the USA and the target of an Islamism to be constantly monitored. But its history is made up of consecutive dictatorships, tsarist, communist and now oligarchic.
    The Navalny episode follows many others, in particular that of de Margerie (which in France has been swept under the carpet): these are only epiphenomena.
    Going to Moscow brought nothing, it was a useless trip. All the more so since the world knows very well that the EU has no strategic vision, apart from human rights, which are put into all sorts of sauces, even the most unreasonable ones – which makes it possible to hide and not solve our problems.
    The EU has been humiliated, it will recover because its foundations are made of paper.

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