Klaus is doing Russia a good turn

Hospodářské noviny | 18.6.2007 | section: Názory | page: 10 | author: Josef Zieleniec


Before the upcoming EU summit in Brussels, Václav Klaus is calling out again to “say NO to the European constitution or any similar document, which would be called otherwise for the sake of appearance…” („Před debatou o euroústavě“, HN, July 13th 2007).

Václav Klaus’s forecasts, or better wishes, as to the final countdown of the Constitution have not come true. The institutional changes of the EU, which the Constitution text has brought up, are back on the European agenda. Every member state, better say every relevant political body in Europe, will have to make itself clear on the subject.

The old Russian doctrine revived

As the former communist countries entered the EU,  the necessity to make institutional changes has been brought up, not only because the number of member states has grown. The system, formerly designed in 1957 for six countries and for a far smaller degree of integration, is now simply not working any more. A very important – and key for the Central Europeans – aspect of the deepening of EU unity, as written in the draft of the Constitution, is the new geopolitical situation after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After the chaos of the Jelztin era, Putin”s Russia is consolidating fast and is gradually taking on the age-long goals of the Russian foreign policy. Central and Eastern Europe, where we live, has for centuries been understood as an area of its political influence in Russia. The entrance of these new democracies to the EU has changed little in this doctrine.

It is by no mistake that Putin has called the collapse of the Soviet Union the “biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” in April 2005. This is no expression of sorrow for the collapse of communism, but a simple statement, that Russia has thus deviated from her historical logic, from the spirit of Russian statehood, of which the Soviet Union has been the biggest fulfillment. Everyday policies of the Russian ruler show that his words were no nostalgia for the past but an outline of the programme for the future.

Europe is our shield

Russia is systematically trying to deprive her former satellites of the right to choose their own future. She does not miss any opportunity to separate them from the rest of the EU and put them in opposition to the Western European states.

The crisis of the war monument transfer in Estonia, blocking imports of Polish meat, repeated use of gas as a political truncheon and the most recent plans to build an anti-missile system are a few examples from the recent time.

Russia is systematically putting EU firmness and its will to act as one to the test. Putin’s attempts to force Europe to return to the traditional power politics of the times of the post-Westphalian Europe, based on bilateral relations of the great powers, would be a historical catastrophe for us and for all the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

This is why the broad political union model of the European integration, based on common values, is in our deepest national interest. A politically compact European Union speaking in one voice is a nightmare for the advocates of the new-and-old Russian doctrine.

Wrecking the institutional reforms of the EU, as Václav Klaus wants us to do, would not only slow down the integration process of Europe; it would very surely lead to disengaging already existing bonds, to weakening EU-compactness of the EU and of intra-European solidarity. By fighting against the European integration, Václav Klaus is simply doing Russia a good turn.

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