Why is the EU isolated?

Mr Tusk’s cry of desperation portrays an EU surrounded by hostile forces, and in danger of subversion from within. He sees Russia as an enemy of the EU. He condemns Islamic terrorism and is clearly worried about several states to the south across the Mediterranean. He dislikes the policy of the new President of the USA. He makes no secret of his worries about China. In other words, he sees the EU as a lonely group of states in a largely hostile world, where the world’s three largest military powers are not in sympathy with the EU or are hostile to it.

What is his remedy? He wants the EU to arm itself and undertake more common defence, with increased defence spending. There is no mention of NATO, Europe’s principal security guarantor. He wants to accelerate European union, to create a more cohesive force in the world with a united foreign policy.

He should ask himself how has the EU got itself into such an impasse with the world’s great powers?

The EU has helped create the rift with Russia. The EU claims cause against Russia for Russia’s illegal military intervention in Crimea. Russia points out the EU helped destabilise the elected President of Ukraine who was just about keeping Ukraine together, to back a new President with a pro EU agenda that the Russian speakers in the country did not support. At the very least we in the west must concede that the EU helped create the conditions for an opportunistic move into Crimea by Russia.  Since then the EU has wished to keep up a tough rhetoric against Russia, and has imposed sanctions. I am no supporter of Russian aggression, but I do want the EU to recognise the need to live alongside Russia and to be careful about the interventions it makes in territories where Russia has influence. Working with Russia in the Middle East is now important given the position Russia has militarily and diplomatically in the region, as successive US Presidents have recognised.  The EU also needs to understand that the surest defence the EU has is from NATO, with the explicit military guarantee for all members.

The EU now seems to want to assert itself against China, though the cause and reason is less clear than with Russia. The EU regularly condemns Islamic terrorism, but is challenged when it comes to defining which rebels and forces on the ground in the complex Middle Eastern civil and religious wars qualify as terrorists and which can be defeated by EU action. In recent days the EU has been keen to indulge in a war of words against the new Trump Presidency, without listening to the concerns of the new Administration in Washington about trade, currencies and migration.

The overriding pessimism of Mr Tusk is sad to read. The lack of any positive forward looking agenda to engage with our ally the USA, or with the powers of China, Russia and the Middle East goes a long way to explaining the EU’s loneliness. If all you offer is fear mixed with the odd threat it is not surprising the EU lacks friends. It was that combination which helped lose the EU one of its major financial contributors, the UK.



  1. Anonymous
    February 2, 2017

    Mr Tusk is in it for self aggrandisement and not for the people of the EU.

    In our own country over 50% of voters were so unhappy with the EU that they were prepared to risk leaving it. Other EU nations show similar levels of disatisfaction.

    There was no give on the part of his organisation which is now going to collapse.

    Project Fear had to be countered by something and that something was Project Hope.

  2. Jack snell
    February 2, 2017

    I am afraid that mr tusk is quite correct to be worried anout what is going on in the wider world today as there is real trouble brewing in all areas of europe and north america in particular. If you add in what mr putin could be up to and the virtual dictatorship in turkey is it any surprise that iran is again flexing its muscle. So niw is not ghe time to be gloating about eeropes difficulties. Whatever is coming down the tracks the uk as usual wont be immune.

    1. Anonymous
      February 2, 2017

      One fails to see how EU unity counters those things. In fact it is quite obivious how EU unity CAUSED one or two of those things or to see the underlying issues. In particular, in North America and Northern Europe exists a class which believes in ideals which they wish only others to live by and pay for.

      They themselves live in gated or moneyed enclaves.

  3. Lifelogic
    February 2, 2017

    A cry of desperation indeed from Tusk, as the EU starts its slow and painful death throws.

    Can Ken Clark not take Osborne, Soubry and Osborne etc. down some rabbit hole and just stay there please?

    “Brexit plans do not prioritise the economy” says Osborne. This from the man who left us with central wage controls, absurdly high fiscal complexity, tax rates well over the Laffer point, endless government waste on daft vanity projects, absurd subsidies for intermittent and expensive “green” energy and an NHS and public services that deteriorate further by the day. He even ratted on his very modest IHT threshold promise, mugged private pensions yet further and robbed landlords and thus tenants.

    He even thought Hinkley C, Lagoons and HS2 made sense!

    Osborne is in no position to talk, he was an economic disaster. Osborne’s priority seemed to be to damage the economy at every turn, worse still May and Hammond are stuck in the same damaging rut. In some ways lefty (red tape & workers on boards, gender pay gap reporting) T May is even more childish & misguided on the economy.

    As we go through this difficult divorce we need some pro business, fiscal and regulatory sense from numbers 10 and 11 not more socialism.

  4. Peter Wood
    February 2, 2017

    Good Morning,
    Mr. Tusk is simply confirming what we all know; the EU is not a nation and therefore has no intrinsic authority. The EU’s legitimacy and capacity is ‘lent’ to it by the member nations, and that can be removed at a stroke.
    Second, it is now becoming clear that the various parts of the EU have often overreached, or is ineffectual. Its officers are often considered of lesser competence than national leaders; so why does anybody take any notice. The EU cannot be saved in its present form, as it becomes evermore self-absorbed and irrelevant.

  5. Mark B
    February 2, 2017

    Good morning.

    If all you offer is fear mixed with the odd threat it is not surprising the EU lacks friends.

    The EU is not only losing friends on the outside, it is losing them on the in as well. And I do not just mean the UK.

    And at this point I think it is important to separate the EU, which is the political entity, and those of the member countries.

    President Trump said something recently which highlighted the problems of the EU. He intimated that, when doing business in the EU, dealing with member countries was easy. Things began to be difficult when it came to dealing with the EU itself. I think this is why he does not like the EU. He sees it as a barrier to free trade and that is why he wants the UK out and the EU broken up.

    Another case in point is the trade deal with Canada. Remember, the head negotiator when faced with a small Belgium province refusing to ratify a trade agreement said;

    “If the EU cannot sign a trade deal with Canada, then what is the point of the EU ?”

    The EU is primarily about protecting French and German interests both within the EU and externally to the EU. The EU is nothing but a Franco – German protection racket and the German’s are manipulating the Euro by impoverishing other member countries like Greece to help keep it low.

  6. Roy Grainger
    February 2, 2017

    His vocal opposition to Russia is strange given that many countries in the EU are dependent on Russia for their energy, for example I believe 50% of the gas used in Germany comes from there. Russia has shown elsewhere they are entirely prepared to cut off these supplies to further their own political interests, if Tusk arms the EU and Russia cuts off German gas in response then what ?

    On Trump, his foreign policy proposals seem to be more non-interventionist than his predecessors with no interest in forcing regime change in countries he disapproves of – isn’t this what the Left have been advocating for years ?

    1. LonndonBob
      February 2, 2017

      Actually Russian has been an impeccably reliable supplier of gas, it was the Obama regime and the EU determined to stop South Stream which would have made supplies even more reliable by circumventing the Ukraine. What we should be doing is looking to North Stream 2 to connect to Britain giving us cheap, clean reliable Nat Gas for years to come. I understand why the neocons are loopy on Russia but I don’t see why this seems to have infected the FO, MI6 etc. Anyway with Trump’s election looks like we are abruptly changing course.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        February 2, 2017


        Frack, frack, frack baby.

  7. Alan
    February 2, 2017

    The EU did not create the conditions for “an opportunistic move” by Russia into Crimea. A military invasion is not an “opportunistic move”: it is an invasion. No matter how you describe the EU’s policy towards the Ukraine it did not justify military invasion.

    No UK MP should be an apologist for Russian military advances into other countries. It is dangerous since it could encourage Russia to invade other countries on its borders.

    1. Know-dice
      February 2, 2017

      I don’t know enough about this to make a really informed comment, but Crimea is mainly Russian speaking and for better or worse the majority of people there did seem to want to be under Russian control.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 2, 2017

        Yes, they voted for Crimea to become a “federal subject” of Russia:

        “Do you support the reunification of Crimea with Russia with all the rights of the federal subject of the Russian Federation?”

    2. Graham
      February 2, 2017

      Would you care to comment on JR’s correct view that the EU wilfully destabilised the Ukraine to provoke Russia otherwise your contribution is invalid


      1. Alan
        February 2, 2017

        I don’t think Mr Redwood is correct if he believes that the EU wilfully destabilised the Ukraine to provoke Russia.

        But my main point is to argue against justifying military invasion.

    3. LondonBob
      February 2, 2017

      The Russian Armed Forces were already stationed in Crimea, they merely ensured the vote on reunification with Russia would this time be respected, Kiev had overridden the Crimean people’s previous votes. Frankly as anyone who has studied the issue this was one of, if not the, most benign outcome resolving the Crimean question. Almost everyone except the most frothing neocon accepts Crimea is Russian, so it is a moot point.

      1. Alan
        February 2, 2017

        Is a military invasion really “merely ensuring the vote on reunification with Russia would be respected”? It seems excessive.

    4. Man of Kent
      February 2, 2017

      Please remember that at the time the EU was flexing its muscles .eg

      Cameron was looking forward to the EU expanding to the Urals .
      Kathy Ashton was being egged on to be more aggressive in the Ukraine.
      The EU chose not to attend the Sochi Olympics because of Russia’s gay policies.

      We seemed not to understand Russian concerns nor be willing to find out on the sidelines of Sochi where the situation might have been de-fused .

      It seems clear that Russia felt sufficiently threatened to take pre-emptive action .

      1. Alan
        February 2, 2017

        Russia was threatened? You might mean some of their interests were threatened, but there has been no threat to Russia that would justify military invasion.

    5. forthurst
      February 2, 2017

      Russia did not invade Crimea; it simply occupied it with the overwhelming support of the people who subsequently held a referendum in which they elected overwhelming to return to Russia. If Russia had not acted to defend what were in any case its vital interests, the Crimea would have become the scenes of the bloodiest fighting resulting from Victoria Nuland’s violent overthrow of the legitimate government; it could conceivably provoked a direct military confrontation with Russia. Ukraine is now a failed state; this is quite normal following interference by neocons whose malefactions are responsible for most of the turmoil in the Europe and the Mediterranean basin.

      1. Alan
        February 2, 2017

        “Russia did not invade Crimea; it simply occupied it”.


        1. forthurst
          February 2, 2017

          What happened in 1688? The Glorious Invasion?

  8. Alan
    February 2, 2017

    An EU army would enable the European countries to make a better contribution to NATO than they do at present. EU countries in total spend a great deal on defence but get little defence capability for their money because it is uncoordinated. If the same money was put into a unified force it would be far more effective.

    1. Know-dice
      February 2, 2017

      An EU army would only be used to subvert and control the citizens of the United States of Europe.

      Under the command of unelected officials in Brussels?.

      This needs to be resisted at all costs.

      Fund an independent NATO properly don’t create complications and another layer of command and control…

      1. Alan
        February 2, 2017

        An EU army would make an effective contribution to NATO and would be under the overall command of the governments of the EU nations.

        It should be encouraged.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      February 2, 2017

      Dear Alan–Nobody but nobody is going to go in to battle, never mind die in a ditch, fighting under EU Colours, and that’s without even considering who is going to give the orders, nor which language the same would be in (with which a lot of the cannon fodder would not be familiar, no matter which language were chosen), or how any such orders are going to be arrived at, by some ghastly EU type committee with no doubt no natural consensus and therefore slowly and hesitantly if at all. One only has to think of a Juncker finger-pointing poster saying, Your EU needs you, to realise there isn’t the proverbial snowball’s chance.

      1. Alan
        February 2, 2017

        Well, maybe they would. The same objections can be made to NATO.

        Since it would be a contribution to NATO its common language for commands would be English. That’s true for all NATO nations at the moment. Try speaking to any NATO officer or NCO next time you are abroad.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          February 2, 2017

          Dear Alan–So you reckon that, after we have left, mind, and the sooner the better, the rEU Army are going to continue talking to each other in, and presumably solely in, unless orders are to be translated, English. Seems unlikely. Even if that were so, it wouldn’t stay like that for long. It was only a few weeks ago that some Frenchman, I think it was, was saying that in future in the EU’s everyday deliberations English should now be banned. And aren’t the Germans keen to make German an official language which I don’t think it is at present. Surprised to read you mentioning Nato–it is obvious that the major part of the thrust for an EU Army is so that the EU need not be dependent on the American-led Nato. There will be enormous pressure to move to speaking German or French or both. Certainly frightens me.

  9. Ian Wragg
    February 2, 2017

    The EU can only survive by creating a climate of fear.
    Everything Tusk says as Merkels mouthpiece is designed to be be a catalyst for more union.
    A country without its own armed forces is nothing.
    Hence no mention of NATO.
    Posturing at its worst.

  10. Lifelogic
    February 2, 2017

    Thanks goodness we won the referendum or JR says he would have left politics. We can hardly afford to have even fewer sound MPs in the house.

    Having won this battle please can you now get the current leadership to cut taxes to sensible levels, cut red tape, move cheap reliable energy, cut out the absurd vanity projects, undo the climate change act and cut the size of the bloated, overpaid/pensioned and largely incompetent UK state sector?

    Do we really want all those damaging EU employment laws to be retained? It is as important for the state sector and the NHS to get rid of them as it is for the private sector. You cannot run any thing very efficiently with them. Hammond says he want better productivity after all, just get the state out of the way.

  11. alan jutson
    February 2, 2017

    You would think the EU would want to be sensible in its future dealings with the UK given our past close relationship, but it seems some of them want a trade war with us as well.

    Soon the EU will have no friends at all outside of its membership area, and when those citizens on the inside are also looking unhappy about the direction they are being taken and treated, it does not bode well at all for its future prospects.

    Thank goodness we are leaving.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 2, 2017

      You would certainly think that from reading Article 8 TEU:


      “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.”


      “The Union shall take all necessary measures to ensure that any member state which exercises its right to withdraw from the Union will be worse off than if it had remained a member state.”

  12. formula57
    February 2, 2017

    One has to wonder if “the surest defence the EU has is from NATO” why the EU’s maladroit manoeuvrevs in Ukraine and against Russia are tolerated by NATO members.

    In any event, and mindful also that not all EU members are in NATO and many of those that are do not make the required contribution, the bones of how many British grenadiers are you willing to see expended to defend the EU?

  13. turboterrier
    February 2, 2017

    In centuries to come the fall of the European Union will be looked on by the historians in the same light as the fall of the Roman Empire.

    Sadly politicians and leaders never look back at history and learn from the outcomes.

    There can be no surprises at the EU is fast heading into collapse it has been on the cards for a long time.

    Pity that 114 of or elected politicians cannot see or understand how the cracks are just getting bigger. They should all resign their seats and stand for reselection and hope they will be re elected. in a lot of cases they will not. They forget that the referendum was not a vote along party lines

  14. alte fritz
    February 2, 2017

    Hardly anyone points to EU responsibility for Ukraine’s plight, but it was significant. Russia has more than 300 years of conflict with the west. The task is indeed to find ways of living together. Russians are not our enemies.

    If the major EU players will not even pay their share to NATO how do they think they can create an EU force which Russia would take seriously?

    1. David Murfin
      February 2, 2017

      “Russia has more than 300 years of conflict with the west.” as in the Napoleonic wars, and World Wars One and Two, presumably.
      Should you not say that Russia has suffered three major invasions from the west?

      1. Mitchel
        February 2, 2017

        Russia has suffered rather more than three invasions from the west over the centuries.

        For those interested in getting an appreciation of the sweep of Russian history there is a very,very good article “Russia’s Foreign Policy:Historical Background,March 3,2016” by Sergey Lavrov.It’s packed full of succinct references to key events in Russia’s history going way back to the Byzantines and the Mongols and covers the political philosophers that have shaped it’s thinking over time(no mention of Lenin or Trotsky though!).You can google it.

    2. stred
      February 2, 2017

      The US also was involved in the overthrow, as vividly demonstrated by Mrs Numans’s words. The then US vice president’s son became an executive of the Ukraine energy company. The EU was keen to exploit the fertile wheat growing lands for energy crops.

      In Crimea there is a large majority of pro- Russian population. They had a referendum to prove they wished to re-join Russia. This was disputed in theWest. The matter could be settled by having another referendum supervised by independent observers. Ukraine too could be divided regionally after having a referendum to find which areas wished to be Russian. They hate each others guts and there is little hope of an end to the conflict. Unfortunately for the EU, the industrial wealth is in the east.

    3. Mitchel
      February 2, 2017

      There wasn’t really a unified “West” before the Russian revolution created such a stark ideological divide and Russia has had (and changed its) western partners over time to preserve a balance of power in Europe-against the Prussians during the late 18th century,against the French in the Napoleonic period,with the French and against the Germans after France was humiliated in 1870-something we used to have a care for before it was decided we had no independent future.We have rarely been outright enemies but have frequently been opponents and competitors, largely due to imperial rivalry.With us shorn of empire and Russia shorn of ideology,there is no reason for us not to have a harmonious relationship with them in the modern era,the more so once we leave the EU,although NATO’s ambitions need reining in.

      1. zorro
        February 2, 2017

        Indeed, some people seem to lack an historical perspective…. As you say, we have in the main part been military allies with Russia. Russia now is a long way from communism which if anything has morphed itself westwards with the EU’s aspirations. A lot of people seem to be frozen in their kneejerk anti USSR attitudes. Russia could be a very useful trading ally with much untapped potential.

        I tend to see a rather unholy alliance between the PC and neo con mafia in their virulent opposition to all things Russian…. one out of financial military/industrial reasons and the other out of fear that not everyone supports their ‘progressive’ agenda.


  15. David
    February 2, 2017

    The other reason is that the EU never admits a mistake. The trade deal it offered to the Ukraine was not wise and helped provoke the civil war – not that Putin’s actions were justified

  16. Nigel
    February 2, 2017

    Germany plans to tag all suspected Islamic extremists, whether they have committed a crime or not. Will we see mass demonstrations on the streets as we have against President Trump’s temporary restrictions on immigration? How does this square with the EU’s condemnation of the Trump measures?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 2, 2017

      Both policies German and US are counter productive, clumsy and rather wrong headed. Is a suicide attacker really going to deterred by a mere tag? More likely spurred on by one?

      Trump should roll back in this area and his protectionism. He is completely right on climate alarmism and energy and I do not want him to become discredited on this issue due to his overreaction on border controls and expensive walls.

  17. fedupsoutherner
    February 2, 2017

    Like you John, I really don’t understand why the EU has to meddle with Chinese affairs in any way. What Tusk should be asking himself is why the hell Merkel together with other officials decided to let in so many unidentified people from some of the most dangerous areas in the world. Surely the threat is now on his own doorstep? Mr Trump may have gone about protecting the USA in a clumsy way but at least he can see that more rigorous vetting is necessary these days.

    Off Topic. I heard the BBC trying to link Brexit with the new runway at Heathrow. Just how bad is reporting at the BBC going to get before something gets done? The extra runway somewhere has been the topic of discussion for years and yet the BBC has to link it to Brexit. Pathetic!!!

    1. Lifelogic
      February 2, 2017

      The BBC “expert” yesterday tried to associate Brexit with protectionism. It is surely the complete opposite.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 2, 2017

      Gatwick and Heathrow are both needed with a HS link to give a 5 runway hub.

      Gatwick would be far quicker so get on with it first.

  18. agricola
    February 2, 2017

    When you have troubles at home the unscrupulous often look for outside causes to blame. I wonder how long it will be before the ills of Europe are deemed to be the Brexiting Brits. He needs to take a long hard inward look at the EU project and work out where it has failed to meet the aspirations of it’s member states and then begin to put it right by putting a heavy brake on the gallop to a USE.

  19. Know-dice
    February 2, 2017

    And off topic…

    For heaven’s sake will politicians of all colours (and the BBC) stop trying to under mine and tie the hands of Mrs May with her up coming EU negotiations. The more Parliamentary “over sight” the weaker her negotiating position will be.

    Just stop it NOW and give her and her negotiators a bit of space to do the best for the UK.

  20. Anne Palmer
    February 2, 2017

    We will NEVER forget.

    So many gave their lives for us
    Fighting in two World Wars,
    Yet when “Peace” came at last
    We ask, “What was that war for”?
    Where is that peace we fought for?
    Did we pay to give it away
    To foreigners once more to govern us?
    Did the people ever have a say?

    We were asked once in 1975
    To remain in the then EEC,
    But what is it now in 2017
    It is nothing like we thought it would be.
    Our Common Law Constitution
    Ignored and deliberately cast aside,
    A new Flag and EU Anthem
    That no Brits can truly abide.

    Yet according to our Constitution,
    We must be free to govern our selves?
    To betray those that gave their lives for us
    Would be like living in a permanent Hell!
    We are forbidden to obey foreigners
    Our Constitution makes that quite clear,
    It was time for us to set ourselves FREE.
    By the REFERENDUM Governments fear.

    1. Fairweather
      February 3, 2017

      I would have liked that in a leaflet to give out at the referendum and would be useful now to shut up the remoaners

  21. Bert Young
    February 2, 2017

    Casting back a few years it is interesting to note how the EU has fallen and failed . The biggest mistake was the introduction of the Euro and the consequent disciplines that were imposed . All efforts from the centre have not been able to create a one nation Europe – it was a fools game from the start . We are now witnessing final and futile efforts ; a resurgence of identity of the individual countries in the EU is now taking place and will gather pace .

  22. stred
    February 2, 2017

    My Polish contacts inform me that President Trusk is about as popular in Poland as Gordon Brown is here. His government put up taxes and (upset some people ed). Politics there is as divided as anywhere and they even have their own version of UKIP. Now he is secure in the EU gravy machine he is at least not as bad as some of their fanatics.His explanation of the fact that there is no such thing as soft or hard brexit was welcome. It is such a shame that so many politicians and remoaners still can’t understand this. Poor deluded souls. President Trusk also suggested that EU countries should take advantage of Trump’s temporary ban on citizens from dodgy ME and African countries to sell them more EU stuff. Polish beer is excellent and one of their most successful exports. It will be interesting to see if it takes off in Arabia.

  23. Original Richard
    February 2, 2017

    “Why is the EU isolated ?”

    This is how Mr. Tusk wishes EU citizens to feel because this is part of the empire building plan by megalomaniac politicians from small EU countries.

    Not content with western Europe they wish to expand to include all of eastern Europe and even the 7 “stan” countries as far as the Urals (Mr. Cameron’s July 2013 speech in Kazakhstan), including of course the Ukraine, even though this has caused very serious issues with Russia.

    The picking of fights with China and Russia is seen as a way as demonstrating to EU citizens the need for generating an EU army and these unelected EU officials would be only too happy for NATO to be abolished.

    The massive migration flows within the EU and into the EU are designed to destroy nation states and social cohesion in order to make everyone feel they are only EU citizens and to provide a reason to strengthen internal controls.

    Fortunately we are leaving the EU.

    Since we are seen as hindering the empire building, as we have done for the last couple of centuries, it can be expected that the EU officials will be happy to help us leave.

    The EU officials are prioritising empire building over everything else.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 2, 2017

      Fortunately we are leaving the EU – well perhaps?

  24. John S
    February 2, 2017

    The people of the Crimea consider themselves Russian and, make no mistake, they welcomed the Russian “occupation”.

  25. Keith
    February 2, 2017

    An EU Army was one of the reasons why I voted Leave.

    1. MickN
      February 2, 2017

      But Nick Clegg said that any talk of an EU army was absolute rubbish, and he is never wrong about anything and I believe every word that spews forth from his gob!

      1. fedupsoutherner
        February 2, 2017


        Don’t we all Mick???

  26. English Pensioner
    February 2, 2017

    One problem with the EU (and with numerous politicians) is that they are not prepared to try to put themselves in the other country/person’s position and can only view a situation from their own limited point of view.
    They should try to look at the situation from the Russian point of view. I’m no great supporter of Russia, but we need to look at what happened. Firstly, the ‘east bloc’ countries which once provided a form of buffer zone joined the EU Empire. Then the EU started dabbling in other countries to its east, not just Ukraine, trying, from the Russian perspective, to persuade them to join trading agreements and ultimately the EU Empire.
    Historically, Russia has been invaded twice by European empires, first by Napoleon and then by Hitler and, one imagines, would view the EU as yet another empire trying to expand into Russia.
    The Russians may be paranoid and may be warmongers, but I think that the EU is giving them every encouragement.
    Thank goodness for Brexit. Once we are out we will be able to totally dissociate ourselves from the EU towards Russia and make it clear that anything that disturbs the status quo is totally unacceptable.

  27. Denis Cooper
    February 2, 2017

    Do we also get a referendum on this?


    “Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has said he wants a referendum on joining Nato.”

    1. ChrisS
      February 3, 2017

      I would hope that nobody anywhere near the NATO high command would even contemplate for a moment allowing Ukraine into NATO.

      We saw what happened in Crimea as a direct result of the idiotic policy of the European “Action Service,” led at the time by Gordon Brown’s catastrophic choice of Baroness Aston of trying to draw Ukraine into the EU field of influence.

      We have to respect and consider Russia’s strategic interests and Putin’s personal paranoia in our handling of the former Eastern Bloc countries. We have had very significant success in drawing Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Rumania, Bulgaria and Poland away from Russia and into the EU but should NATO or the EU make serious overtures towards Ukraine, military conflict on Russia’s long border with Europe would become almost inevitable.

      We urgently need a de-escalation of the tension between the West and Putin caused by the loss of those former Eastern Bloc Countries from his sphere of influence. Although it might seem very unlikely, it is just possibly that President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson’s wide ranging contacts in Russia could make that happen.

      If so, it would be a tremendous coup for the Trump Presidency. Not that he would ever be given any credit for it !

  28. Maureen Turner
    February 2, 2017

    “We will make the UK pay”. These were the words of Mr. Mario Draghi, ECB, only a few weeks ago re our intended departure from the EU. This is the type of language Eurocrats throw around as normal discourse and not just at us wayward Brits but to any member state that fails to adhere to their absolute need for conformity.

    The reasons the EU isn’t going to make a success of their plan for a Fetderal States of Europe are many but one is the failure to understand or allow any degree of autonomy in the 27 countries they intend to meld into a FSE. The current aims of the EU, unless
    watered down to accommodate diversity will end up with nations stifled by conformity and resembling the former USSR rather than the USA.

    If I had a tip for Pres. Juncker and his so called elite it would be – Read up on diplomacy and stop firing off diktats and emails that require complete obedience. This approach didn’t/doesn’t work in Europe as we all know to our cost.

  29. Antisthenes
    February 2, 2017

    Donald Tusk epitomises the smug feeling of self importance and bureaucratic mind set of many of our political masters. Especially apparent among those who run the EU as they are less restrained by the democratic process. They are appointed not elected and the system is weighted towards rule by edict. Only those who are most dedicated to the EU are invited to join the ruling elite. Therefore there is no dissension and little accountability. Empire building, aggrandisement and zealous effort towards achieving the the objectives of the EU project dictates their actions. So it is no wonder that the EU stumbles from one bad decision after another.

    Brexit and the rise of dissenting political parties should have alerted them to the fact that their system and policies are deeply flawed but it has not. Instead they have become more committed and less open to reason. A situation that Brexit may force them to change but if not will eventually bring them down and the EU with them.

  30. Stephen Berry
    February 2, 2017

    One should have sympathy for Mr Tusk. He fancies that the EU is a great power and great powers always imagine themselves surrounded by countries plotting their downfall.

    Of more importance is where the UK’s foreign policy is going to stand when its exit from the EU is complete. The government’s present stance is that we will still be taking a prominent part in European institutions such as NATO and want close and friendly ties with the EU. But many in Brussels will now be sure that British foreign policy has tilted decisively towards Washington. If NATO is downgraded in importance, as President Trump seems to hint at, expect tangible moves towards EU armed forces, forces to which the UK will not belong.

    Against such a background, also expect the UK to radically revise its position with regard to Russia and other countries not part of the EU. Interesting times…

  31. Eh?
    February 2, 2017

    What effect have sanctions had? Did they induce a behavioural change from the UK perspective to the positive? If not, what timescale is envisaged for the sanctions to work?
    If sanctions prove not to work, what is the next upgrade to action? Will we each be given a free army helmet or must we buy our own? I have an extremely large brain, can I apply for a grant?Will blackout curtains be compulsory?

  32. zorro
    February 2, 2017

    An EU army would be about as effective as FRONTEX in their respective roles…. i.e not at all


  33. Chris S
    February 2, 2017

    The EU is now at the crossroads reached by all aspiring Empires and the prospects are not good : throughout history, every one of them has ultimately failed.

    The crossroads they all reach, sooner or later, is to integrate more and expand further, bringing in more people and treasure or to stand still. In the case of the EU the option of further expansion and integration isn’t there : the only areas it could possibly expand into are Russia and/or Turkey and there’s no chance whatsoever of the people agreeing to either.

    Further integration is deeply unpopular in Germany and France. To make the EU and the Euro work, the German taxpayer would have to agree to make fiscal transfers of heroic proportions to the ClubMed and Eastern Bloc Countries and the French, having seen what the imposition of German-style Austerity has done to Greece, won’t support the loss of economic sovereignty that further integration would entail.

    Yet only in the last week, diehards like Verhofstadt have again been calling for More Europe as the only solution.

    One might as well call it their Final Solution it is about as popular and has about the same percentage chance of success.

  34. PaulDirac
    February 2, 2017

    In a way we are lucky that the EU is so stupid as to even consider an “EU army”, which is an oxymoron.
    If created it would be the world’s first real chimera, no common language, no common command structure, no common logistics, the list goes on.

    Russia under Putin is a dangerous rogue state, what started as a maybe-democracy has now turned into a cleptomacy with nuclear forces.
    One can argue about Crimea, but the invasion of Ukraine proper (and Georgia) are the first serious challenge to world order.
    A nuclear bully state invading a neighbor is not an excusable “Oh never mind, naughty boy” event.

    Russia is probing our borders on a daily basis by air by sub sea by cyber attacks and constant intelligence gathering. Russia is engaging in an active offensive (mainly cold) against NATO and the west in general.

    Their contempt for our sovereignty was amply exemplified by the murder of Litvinenko in a hotel in central London by the FSB, which created serious radioactive contamination.

  35. Derek Vaughan
    February 2, 2017

    Haven’t checked but I do believe that Mr Tusk is shortly up for re-election as President of the Council.
    Is he electioneering?

  36. Peter Gardner
    February 3, 2017

    “If all you offer is fear mixed with the odd threat it is not surprising the EU lacks friends. ”

    Indeed. But the EU is constitutionally unable to admit the truth. It was founded with an objective that its founders recognised could be achieved only by stealth because it was unachievable by appeal to electorates. When that conflict has surfaced it has resorted to bullying and subterfuge. Its ways and means have formed the character of its leaders. Unless checked the elites of human organisations invariably take more power unto themselves, tend to become more secretive and tend towards coercion. It has been and remains a long term ambition of many EU leaders that the EU should surpass the united States of America for world dominance economically and politically.

    The EU has been called out for what it is and what it has tried to conceal. Like all bullies, when someone strikes back it claims it is hitting out in self-defence.

    Arming this self-obsessed undemocratic and anti-nation state expansionist oligarchy whose foreign policies have so far been proven inadequate, ill-judged and de-stabilising would be the height of human folly.

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