(ORDO NEWS) — According to some sources, Boris Johnson proposes to create an alliance that would include countries that are dissatisfied with Brussels, writes Corriere Della Serra. So he is trying to take advantage of today’s differences and shuffle the cards in Europe, the author of the article believes.
Tuesday evening in Davos was scheduled to meet the highest level in Europe. Three European Prime Ministers from Belgium, Greece and Spain, the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, two of the most important representatives of the European Commission, Paolo Gentiloni and Frans Timmermans, ministers from different countries, the head of French foreign intelligence. Lacked, however, the most long-awaited guest: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba. His participation was announced the day before, but he never showed up.
At first glance, Kuleba has lost little. The high-level European establishment avoided the topic of the conflict in the EU borders for almost the entire evening. But it is precisely this silence, sometimes beyond the physical perception, and the absence of a guest from Kyiv that showed that tensions are growing between Ukraine and some of the main EU members. And it is precisely in this gap that Boris Johnson is trying to squeeze in with his initiative to shuffle the cards in Europe. The British Prime Minister proposes a new political, economic and military alliance as an alternative to the EU, with countries united by distrust of Brussels and Germany’s reaction to Russia’s actions.
Boris Johnson has been weaving his web for more than a month, according to some people familiar with the negotiations and participating these days at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The prime minister first presented the initiative to Volodymyr Zelensky when the Ukrainian president received him in Kyiv on April 9. Boris Johnson’s model involves the creation of a European Commonwealth, led by the United Kingdom. In addition to Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Turkey could also be included later. After the visit of the British Prime Minister to Kyiv, the negotiations probably continued. Britain’s courtship of Ukraine is becoming more and more insistent, plans for the future are already looming.
Johnson is proposing an alliance of nations that zealously defend national sovereignty, advocate a free economy, and are prepared to take the toughest possible stance against the Russian military threat, according to a few sources outside London but familiar with the situation.
The Ukrainian government, for its part, has not yet expressed a position on the British initiative, but it has not stopped its birth either. The Ukrainian elite is convinced that in Germany and France, only a few now in power expect Putin’s defeat. Delays in sanctions and arms shipments have already led to political controversy.
Therefore, Zelensky is waiting for the EU summit, which is to be held on June 23. The leaders of 27 countries will have to decide whether to recognize Ukraine as a “candidate” for EU membership, to formally launch accession negotiations. It is not certain that the decision to be made on June 23 will meet Ukraine’s expectations.
Declaring Ukraine a “candidate” would anger Albania and North Macedonia, which have been waiting years to be given that status. According to some negotiators, the situation may be as follows: the leaders of 27 countries will limit themselves to a vague statement about the “European perspective” of Ukraine (the so-called “Thessaloniki formula”).
In this case, Zelensky may take Boris Johnson’s proposal more seriously. It is likely that rumors of talks are being circulated now precisely in order to put pressure on European leaders, who will have to make a decision in June. It may also be that the British project is just a colossus with feet of clay, because London does not have the resources that the EU has to financially support Ukraine. And it is not certain that Poland and the Baltic countries will get involved in an initiative that could jeopardize their relations with Brussels.
According to one European minister, Johnson clearly wants some kind of political reward. The British prime minister is hoping to get another card for Brexit talks with Brussels, which he himself would like to resume. London is thus trying to shift the balance in Europe.
Ultimately, the British initiative may show that a fault line has long been drawn in Europe between those countries that actively help Ukraine (especially the UK and Poland) and those who are more cynical and hesitant. According to Arianna Antezza, a researcher at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, during the conflict, the UK provided the greatest financial and military support to Kyiv compared to the EU countries. Poland helped Ukraine more than Germany, France and Italy. Thus the conflict.
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