The head of representation of EU in Russia has stated the need to expand the channel format, adding to the existing Quartet of the European Union. Experts agree that this will help the officials to remind myself not to fall out of the global agenda. The inclusion of the EU can affect the very course of the conflict in Ukraine. But hardly for the better. The EU wants to join the so-called Normandy format on the settlement in Ukraine. “We need to focus more on overcoming the crisis in Ukraine, as it will be difficult to normalize relations with Russia, while he continues, — said the head of the EU delegation to Russia Vygaudas Usackas. — It’s time for the EU to become part of the Normandy format, the forum of the four powers, including France, Ukraine and Russia.” If the US has a special representative for Ukraine, why he should not be in the EU?”.
As you know, “Norman four” began work in June 2014, when in the framework of festive events on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the landing of allied troops in Normandy, the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine for the first time discussed ways of resolving the conflict in the Donbass.
Currently, the channel process is in limbo. In September, the President of France Emmanuel macron said that Paris is planning to convene a meeting on Ukraine after the elections in Germany. However, the press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov noted that the negotiations “channel four” is not yet planned, as specific arrangements for him there.
Why the EU decided to become a party to the Normandy format? This change in the fate of Donbass? VZGLYAD forwarded this question to the experts.
“The EU has still not demonstrated the political will and established itself as an entity which can make such decisions”, — said in an interview with the newspaper VIEW political scientist, Professor of political theory at MGIMO Kirill Koktysh. In his opinion, the European Union is driven by a “desire to be present, to be excluded from the process.”
The Deputy Director of the Center for Ukrainian and Belarusian studies at Moscow state University, member of the Council on foreign relations under the President of Russia Bogdan Bezpalko recalled that major EU economies — France and Germany already are participants of the Normandy format. According to the statement Usackas, “we are talking about the institutionalization of the EU, i.e. the European officials want to speak on it on behalf of the European Union as a political entity,” he added.
Bezpalko also reminded that, unlike the EU, the US not wanting to join the Normandy format. “For the Americans the conflict in Ukraine is a convenient way to put pressure on Russia. The connection channel format would be introduced for the United States a number of restrictions and obligations. For example, in the case of apparent violations by Ukraine, the U.S. would have to exert pressure on Ukraine, but do they do not want, therefore, to join the channel format will not be”, — stated the analyst.
Indeed, last week the outgoing us Ambassador John Tefft reiterated that “the United States are not members of the group and not trying to become them”. “But we’re trying to help the Germans, the French, the Russians and Ukrainians with the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Our goal is to help to reach compromise solutions,” the diplomat added.
However, the possible participation of the EU in Normandy format may yield positive dividends to the settlement process does not preclude Bespalko. “In this case can prevail on the point of view of Western European States, that is, the voice of Western Europe would more be heard, — he said. — Despite the fact that she was partially deprived of sovereignty and is highly dependent on the U.S. in political, geopolitical and military aspects, Western Europe is a peaceful settlement in Ukraine”.
The political scientist also recalled that Western Europe is important not only the full restoration of trade and economic relations with Russia, but the real settlement of the situation in Ukraine in General, as for Ukraine it is “a source of anxiety and expense”.
But Eastern Europe (particularly the Baltic States, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria) in contrast, focuses on the United States, therefore, is not interested in a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine. For example, a very actively interfere in the politics of Ukraine and Poland. In addition to performances with the sharp anti-Russian statements and initiatives, Warsaw “tries to derail this format”, reminds Bezpalko.
Thus, if the EU officially included in the Norman format, “point of view of the countries of Western Europe will prevail”, that is, it will sound at the position of the EU as the subject of the Normandy format talks, said Bezpalko.
Kirill Koktysh believes, however, that a more audible voice in Western Europe is also unlikely to affect Kiev. “The European Union has a strong mandate in foreign policy,” — said the expert, who said that Frederica Mogherini is the Chairman of the club, not the subject, not the Minister of foreign Affairs. “If the EU was the holder of the key European distributor of the resource, it would be interesting. But in fact it is not,” — says Koktysh.
He recalled that currently in the EU there are two decision-making center — Germany and France. Given that this mechanism is extremely inert and difficult, where the same Mogherini is almost impossible to get any sort of mandate the EU’s accession to Normandy format “may soon lead to hang of the work, rather than to real qualitative change.”
“Even with four members of the decisions after the fact are taken ill. I can not believe that the expansion of their number might have something to radically change,” said Koktysh.