Learning One’s Place in Europe

by Nathan Hamm on 1/7/2005 · 3 comments

Once again, a long-time EU member has expressed disapproval with new East European members for developing and pursuing a foreign policy. This time though, it’s not France doing the castigating, but the President of the EU Parliament, Josep Borrell, a Spanish Socialist. He lashed out at Poland and Lituania for their mediation in Ukraine’s presidental election crisis. Reports Vladimir Socor in the Eurasia Daily Monitor:

Defining the outcome in Ukraine as a “great success by the EU in avoiding a crisis,” Borrell contended that this became possible “despite” Poland and Lithuania. These two countries’ position on Ukraine, he claimed, differed from that of the EU, “because they acted under U.S. influence.”

It’s not the substance or the outcome that matters, but, it appears, that the Poles and Lithuanians learn that part of the price of admission to the EU (for Eastern Europe at least) is an independent foreign policy. It’s more or less “Sign on the dotted line, shut up, and don’t ever be seen working with the Americans.” And of course, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Certain members of the old guard in the EU doesn’t want new members to be too cozy with the US under any circumstances.

Lithuania’s representative at the European Parliament reacted,

In Brussels, the Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, Eugenijus Gentvilas (of the Group of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), linked Borrell’s statement to other “attempts at kindling discord in Transatlantic relations. Such actions are unacceptable to us because the United States is the strategic ally of both Europe and Lithuania.” Poland’s and Lithuania’s successful role in Ukraine should not cause resentment, he said, but should rather help muster “active support for drawing Ukraine into the EU’s political orbit.”

Borrell, for his part, says he was misinterpreted.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Robert Mayer January 8, 2005 at 10:12 pm


I have started up a new blog located at http://www.publiuspundit.com. It will
be my *attempt* to cover democratic revolutions around the world, such
as in Ukraine, Iran, etc.

I have already linked to you, because I think you have very relevant
content to what I myself will be talking about. I hope you will think
the same about me, and return the favor.

Thank you for your time!
-Robert Mayer

PS: I couldn’t find your contact information… so I figured posting a comment would have to suffice. Get back to me if you are interested, I look forward to hearing from you!

amateur politician January 11, 2005 at 12:00 am

And what is Borrell talking about? This “great success” as he says was ironically achieved by Poland’s and Lithuania’s initiative, while Solana could even say a word in the negotiations and he is cheering the outcome but blaming ones who participated a great deal in achieving it. It would be a surprise if somebody expressed concerns about Mr. Borrell’s competence to meet its position.

Nathan Hamm January 11, 2005 at 12:24 am

Amateur Pol, your IP address suggests you’re a student here in Philadelphia. Neat. Where are you from originally? I mean, judging from your comment, you’re from Eastern Europe (perhaps Poland or Lithuania). Drop me a line if you ever want to say hello. I work in Center City.

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