MUNICH – The EU commissioner who, over the past five years, tried and failed to get Ukraine to sign up to pro-EU reforms has said only the promise of accession can change former Soviet states.
“If we are serious about helping this part of Europe to transform, the association agreement is only the first step. The next one should be the light at the end of the tunnel. You can’t transform this part of Europe without using this most powerful instrument [enlargement],” former Czech diplomat Stefan Fuele told a congress of European and US security chiefs in Munich on Saturday (2 February).
Romanian President Traian Basescu backed him up. Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – With the appointment of a foreign minister, who is under heavy criticism for his stance on human rights, the new German government is preparing a global policy offensive. According to the CDU/SPD Coalition Agreement, the government is more determined than ever to help “shape international policy” and play “a strong autonomous role.” Counting on the EU, to couple more tightly its “civilian and military instruments” to intervene globally, the German government will promote EU foreign and military policy at the summit in Brussels later this week. Designated Foreign Minster, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), has been actively involved in Berlin’s geopolitical climb since he became the Chancellery’s coordinator of the German intelligence services in 1998. In 2001, he became Chief of Staff of the Federal Chancellery and played a central role in the German/US-American coordination in the “War on Terror,” which had initially consisted of the abduction and torture of terror suspects. For this, Steinmeier has been repeatedly under criticism – without effect. He will once again preside over the foreign ministry. Continue reading
Experts and analysts always say China, but it’s the one you never see coming that hits the hardest. They likely do not account for the fact that China, although ‘rising’, is not trusted throughout the world and will likely have a limited role instead of a leading one on the world stage because of this.
On the other hand, Germany’s stranglehold on and ever-growing control of the EU (the world’s largest economy) is also not accounted for. Couple that with the misguided appearance of being 100% pacifist since the second World War, yet it’s the third largest arms exporter in the world, you can give the upper hand to Germany. It’s a highly overlooked and dismissed fact.
BERLIN (Own report) – The EU crisis is causing a serious weakening of the EU’s foreign policy, concluded a recent study published by the Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. Not only are the member states’ financial outlays for foreign and military activities clearly diminishing, due to leeway shrinkage caused by budget cuts, but “conflicts between member states have grown” around how to handle the crisis, according to the SWP. This has stifled “joint foreign policy initiatives.” The think tank points out that the enduring crisis and the hard-line German austerity dictate have damaged the prestige of the EU and, therefore, also severely tarnished its global “soft power.” Particularly damaging are the cuts in the military sector, even ranging up to 30 percent reductions in defense spending of the smaller and medium sized EU countries, jeopardizing their long term capability of participation in EU wars. The option of instrumentalizing a common EU foreign and military policy, to reinforce German clout and eventually promote it to world power status, had always been an important motive in Berlin for the buildup and development of the EU. Continue reading