How COVID-19 will affect European Union foreign policy

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — At the end of last week, a round table was held within the framework of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, which discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the foreign policy of the European Union, on the future of European integration, as well as on relations between the EU and Russia.

Pandemic of problems

There is no topic that does not mention the pandemic, there is no such sphere of life that the coronavirus would not affect. He truly crowns everyone and everything! The foreign policy sphere is no exception. The virus once again showed that the world is one, and big problems, appearing in one state, can quickly affect neighbors, and further. And we got a pandemic of problems. So with this virus. When and where it originated – no one can say for sure: this topic is walking, speculating with it, it is referred to as the cause of all ills. China is accused of having a virus. But while the country was struggling with the disease, other countries, even on a different continent, knowing about the virus, dragged on time, not wanting to follow the example of China, and found themselves in a difficult situation. Now “only the lazy will not stick a stick at China.” This is especially true of the United States.

According to Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, in general, “the biggest consequence of the pandemic is a sharp deterioration in US-China relations.” So the problem turned from medical into political, and, accordingly, into economic.

What was his influence on various countries? In the process of discussing this issue, and it was attended by authoritative scientists, public and political figures, business representatives, it turned out that its influence cannot be limited only by relations between the EU and Russia. It influenced the strengthening of friendship between one country and the deepening quarrel of others, the development of some sectors of industry and science, and caused a crisis in others, and, finally, even the development of interstate and public relations! In truth, “small, but daring!”

According to Academician Alexander Dynkin, President of IMEMO RAS, the pandemic once again exposed the chronic contradictions within the European Union between European values ​​and the nationalization of interests. Individual interests in one part of Europe muffled the rhetoric of European values, and vice versa in the other. It turned out that national identity and personal values, historical memory cannot be shared by all. For example, some politicians in Poland say that the Vatican and the USA brought freedom to the Poles, and the Spaniards remember that it was the Vatican and the USA that extended the dictatorship for forty years, just to prevent the left-wing forces from coming to power. More than once, the EU leadership tried to announce the emergence of a new community of “European people”. But this time, too, the new community fell into a pandemic.

Indeed, what kind of community can we talk about now? Is it about the community of the unemployed ?! According to Academician Sergei Rogov, there are 60 million new unemployed in Europe as a result of a pandemic! And what after? Will a new belt tightening begin? Probably yes, but … It is possible that coal will lose its role in the European energy balance, since it is the most expensive mineral. So we are waiting for the closure of the mines? But this, unfortunately, is not all the troubles that await Europe. The distant economy, which has appeared recently in addition to new technology, also leads to widening inequality. She, according to Dynkin, “polarizes people with more skilled labor, and income inequality will increase in this connection. If commodity globalization occurred after the crisis of 2008-2009, then digital and financial will accelerate after the current crisis.”

Another speaker at the round table, the former Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, and the special representative of the President of the Russian Federation for international and cultural cooperation, Mikhail Shvydkoy, drew attention to the negative impact of the pandemic on culture. In Europe, he said, “there was a threat of bankruptcy to the largest cultural institutions, museums and concert halls. The poor will watch performances in digital numbers, listen to music, go to museums, and the rich will enjoy living art. It’s also in healthcare.”

New relationship

The pandemic has also changed relations between EU members. Director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences RAS correspondent member Alexei Gromyko noted in his speech that the pandemic “de-globalization received a new breath. This is not a crisis of globalization, but a crisis of Western financial and economic neoliberalism. Regional integration is crowding out global. The most disagreements are emerging between donor countries and recipients, in particular, what kind of assistance will be provided to the victims of the pandemic: transfers or loans at interest? So far, countries affected by the pandemic will provide assistance themselves e. A transnational? There is a new “Marshall Plan.” But it does not provide for assistance from the outside, but only within the EU. However, this plan will take effect only on the first of June. So far no one from there a single euro has not received! A seven-year development plan is being developed. But he rather aims at reconciling the north and the south.

Naturally, significant attention during the round table was paid to relations between the EU and Russia. In principle, no one, judging by the speeches, expects the pandemic to bring something new and serious to our relationship. True, Academician Rogov believes that “there was little hope of a decrease in military tension. In reality, a lot of military exercises were either postponed or canceled. Most likely, the US requirements for NATO countries to increase their military budgets by two percent will remain unfulfilled, since this is unattainable for European countries. Some element of humor was also heard. Rogov said that instead of the exercises, 140,000 NATO troops took part in the fight against coronavirus. “We were preparing to fight Russia, but we had to fight the virus. It turns out that other priorities have appeared in matters of security. ” And Europeans showed serious insecurity in themselves and in their future. Moreover, they are not sure that if, God forbid, something serious happens, then the Americans will come to their aid.

What’s next?

It is clear that the differences between Europe and the United States on the extension of the START-3 Treaty, and fears about the deployment of a new generation of American medium-range missiles near the borders of Russia, and Russian aimed at European targets, will play their role. They also do not really like it. Therefore, Academician Rogov believes, “there are certain opportunities regarding our proposals to begin dialogue at the expert level, and then maybe at a higher level.”

According to speakers, Europeans are wondering, what next? Is such a US policy just Trump, or a reflection of the internal situation in the US? In a word, although the pandemic did not create anything new and did not solve the problem, it became clear that Europe is trying and will try to find itself both in the international arena, including relations with China, and in the Russia-USA diagonal.

But the question of who the EU is for Russia, the answer, summing up all that has been said, can be defined as follows: an economic and strategic partner and at the same time a competitor.

In this regard, there were suggestions on how to enter into closer partnerships. In matters of security, this is still difficult to achieve, but it’s clear that, by escalating tensions in Europe by deploying medium-range missiles, the United States is more likely to aggravate the situation between them and Europe. But it’s hardly worth looking for quick changes in approaches to solving security problems. It is hard to hope for the lifting of the sanctions regime. However, the scientific advisers of the Institute of Economics Ruslan Grinberg proposed a way out in “an agreement with the EU on the issue of Donbass.” But the essence of the proposal is not disclosed. Dmitri Trenin believes that “unilateral concessions will be perceived as a sign of weakness.” But he also did not specify to whom this message was intended. In his opinion, Europe for us is a source of technology and investment, a market. At this stage, collaboration in healthcare should be a top priority. He also proposed not to compete with the EU for the Balkans, since “in the strategic and geopolitical plan, the Balkans are not important for Russia. We need to change the policy of collecting land for collecting people. This applies, he said, to the post-Soviet space, and to some extent degrees to the Balkans. ” But as for the Balkans, the chairman of the board of directors of Creon Energy Fares Kilzie expressed his disagreement. He believes that the Balkan market will now play an important role in attracting investment and technology and it is impossible to give it to the EU. It is necessary to change the policy of collecting land for collecting people. This applies, he said, to the post-Soviet space, and to some extent to the Balkans. “But as for the Balkans, the chairman of the board of directors of Creon Energy Fares Kilzie expressed his disagreement. He believes that the Balkan market will now play an important role to attract investment and technology and to give it to the EU, it is impossible. It is necessary to change the policy of collecting land for collecting people. This applies, he said, to the post-Soviet space, and to some extent to the Balkans. “But as for the Balkans, the chairman of the board of directors of Creon Energy Fares Kilzie expressed his disagreement. He believes that the Balkan market will now play an important role to attract investment and technology and to give it to the EU, it is impossible.

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