The game of thrones

The game of thrones

Elena Popova

Gasoline prices in the European Union have almost doubled, food prices have risen sharply. It’s one thing to support Ukraine in words, it’s another thing to pay out of your own pocket. As the conflict drags on, the mutual claims of European politicians grow. The Polish authorities are criticizing Germany, Hungary is arguing with Kyiv, and Georgia and Moldova are fighting for the status of an EU candidate. RIA Novosti investigated how the crisis hit the region.
Warsaw multi-move
“Stop pushing us into this war. Take care of the well-being of the citizens of your country, who are getting poorer day by day!” writes Natalia from Warsaw on the page of President Andrzej Duda. The number of such comments is growing. People are tired of the Ukrainian conflict and do not want to put up with a drop in living standards.
At the same time, the differences between the European leaders are becoming more and more obvious. Polish authorities point out that France, Germany and Italy are only talking to the Russian leader, not confronting him. “I am amazed at all the negotiations that are currently underway with Putin. Chancellor Scholz, Presid-ent Emmanuel Macron. These conversations are useless,” Duda said in an interview with Bild.
Obviously, with such statements, the Poles are trying to score political points and at the same time recoup old grievances. They cannot forget how, even before the Ukrainian events, Brussels accused Warsaw of violating democratic rights, discriminating against the LGBT community, and having a negative attitude towards migrants. Now the Polish authorities hope that the fines they were ordered to pay by the European Court in Luxembourg will be lifted.
“The EU does not provide real material support. Talks, promises. And we spend our money (on helping refugees. – Ed.). We organize our people, we try to do everything possible in this situation. On the other hand, the sanctions against Poland, which have politically motivated, continue to operate,” Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Glinsky complained.
Warsaw really took over the main influx of refugees and became the leader in the EU in terms of allocated financial and military assistance – it accounted for a fifth of all weapons transferred to Kyiv. Sixty-five percent was sent by the United States, and all the rest, combined, only 15.
“Poland wants to establish dominance over the entire European Union through active participation in the Ukrainian project,” says political scientist Sergei Markov. “Therefore, Warsaw is taking the most radical position. It is a completely rational approach.”
However, in their desire to draw attention to themselves, the Poles often go too far. “Sorry, maybe someone in Germany will be offended: this part of the German economy doesn’t give a damn about what is happening with Ukraine, what is happening with Poland,” Duda said.
He wants the Germans to hand over modern Leopards to Warsaw instead of Soviet-made tanks sent to Ukraine. However, Berlin is in no hurry to share the latest technology. The Polish president admitted that he was disappointed by this.
The game of thrones
Zelensky also criticizes Scholz for delays in the supply of weapons, adding fuel to the fire: “You cannot try to balance between Ukr-aine and relations with Ru-ssia, you must choose whe-re to prioritize.” He hurries the West with the introduction of new anti-Russian sanctions, and a representative of the Ukrainian Fore-ign Ministry even requires a certificate of mental health from the head of the Hungarian parliament.
The Hungarian leadership, by the way, got a hard hit from the EU allies. President Viktor Orban is being accused of almost colluding with Putin over his refusal to supply weapons through his territory. In addition, Budapest did not support sanctions against Russia in the fuel sector. “Hungary every time has to defend its national interests again and again,” Orban justifies himself.
The western flank of the EU, which has taken on the role of European arbiter, adds to the turbulence of an already difficult situation. After the resignation of Angela Merkel, Macron got a chance to prove himself. He uses the situation in Ukraine to gain a reputation as a peacemaker and become the unspoken leader of the entire European Union. However, so far these attempts can hardly be called successful.
The reason for sharp criticism of Macron was telephone conversations with Putin.
The French president’s statement that Russia must not be humiliated outraged the Czechs and frightened the Finns. The former declared that it was not necessary to act with an eye on the feelings of the “aggressor”. The latter suspected Paris of being ready to agree to Moscow’s conditions.
Restraint, to the displeasure of the eastern partners, can be traced in the statements of Berlin. Scholz’s moderation is being pushed by the German industry, which has already experienced interruptions in the supply of cheap Russian energy resources.
“There is another bloc of states pursuing a sovereignly oriented policy,” Markov notes. “Hungary, Austria and Italy proceed from responsibility for voters, and not for the whole of Europe. From their point of view, it is most beneficial to maintain economic relations with Russia and prevent a split Europe”.
According to the expert, these differences in views have exposed the heterogeneity of Europe. They can demonstrate unity there, for example, on the issue of imposing sanctions. But when it comes to their extension, they do not dare to make the discussion public, fearing that the differences between the countries will pour out.
“The pragmatic EU leaders remind about the perniciousness of the sanctions regime and do not want to break off relations with Russia. They complain about Brussels, which does not take into account the interests of national economies., and then the covid pandemic,” explains political scientist Alexei Mukhin.
Fish in muddy water
A fierce struggle is also taking place on the borders of the European Union. After Ukraine applied for EU candidate status, the authorities of Georgia and Moldova decided to do the same. None of these countries has yet come close to European standards, and their participation in the process is clearly not in favor of Kyiv.
“If an open conflict is one of the criteria for obtaining a status, then we do not want it. We demand a well-deserved status,” said Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. He stressed that Georgia “is ten heads ahead of Ukraine and Moldova in all areas” and even “is ahead of the EU member states.”
Moldovan leader Maia Sandu also expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that Ukraine could be admitted to the European Union first. But, unlike Tbilisi, Chisinau’s position is more modest: “We would like to get candidate status as soon as possible, but we are realists and understand that there are processes that we must go through to join the EU.”
Experts agree that it is beneficial for European politicians to prolong the conflict in Ukraine, since its background creates ideal conditions for solving their own problems, which have accumulated a lot in recent years.
At the same time, according to Markov, despite the bitter lessons, Europe will not be able to get rid of excessive bureaucracy and will not learn to negotiate faster.
On the contrary, there will be more and more secret negotiations and behind-the-scenes deals.

The post The game of thrones appeared first on The Frontier Post.