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position in Kyiv

2. New members old problems

in Crisis 2017 · EN · Europe 2017 · Germany 2017 · Nation 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 138 views / 6 comments

GEOMETR.IT      politico.eu


* What should that future look like?

Enlargement has ground to a halt in recent years, partly because voters in some member countries oppose the idea of Western Balkan countries joining the club and fear the free movement of their workers once they are in. If the bloc offered “membership minus” to some applicants — meaning they would not take part in certain policies, such as free movement — opposition to enlargement would diminish.

The same is true when it comes to the EU’s approach to its neighbors. Brussels has offered countries to the east and south too little incentive for entering its orbit. The EU should give selected neighbors that are unlikely to become full-fledged members the chance to take part in specific policies. Just as Turkey has a customs union with the bloc, Tunisia or Ukraine, say, could join parts of the single market or discussions on foreign policy.

To be sure, there are limits to how far the EU can take this scheme. The bloc couldn’t function smoothly if every member was not involved in the single market, competition policy and trade, environmental rules and foreign policy. But that still leaves room to accommodate different interests.

The eurozone, Schengen, policing and defense cooperation are all policy areas that currently allow members to opt out. That logic should be extended wherever possible, allowing members to opt out of the databases that facilitate cooperation on security, the harmonization of corporate taxation or new arrangements for the sharing of intelligence, for example.

Moving toward more flexibility is a challenge to the EU’s legal order — which the bloc’s institutions in Brussels will, rightly, seek to protect like hawks. Many in the European capital will insist that if some non-members are allowed to take part in policies such as defense, trade or some aspects of the single market, they must accept the entirety of EU rules and the jurisdiction of its courts.

But flexibility would undeniably make the bloc more attractive to potential applicants. Britain, not insignificantly, would be more likely to rejoin the bloc one day, if it could move into an “outer circle” that did not involve the euro, Schengen and other policies. The same would apply to an independent Scotland or Catalonia, or to countries reticent about European integration, such as Switzerland and Norway.

The U.K. government is currently focused on exiting the club, and few European leaders are in a hurry to draw the British closer once they are out. But in the long term, when Britain has experienced the chill winds of solitude, and when the EU recognizes that keeping the Brits at arm’s length is not good for anybody, both may come to see the value in creating more flexible “membership” solutions.

Charles Grant is director of the Centre for European Reform.

* The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at : http://politico.eu

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1.Каталония. Театрального эффекта ради? Блеянье газетных баранов  08.11.2017

Европа, дайошь политику, основанную на реальности!  08.11.2017

Войди в эту комнату, ты увидишь там следующую дверь. Европа  08.11.2017

Вопрос Столыпина: Америке нужны великие потрясения?  08.11.2017


1. New members old problems

in Crisis 2017 · EN · Europe 2017 · Germany 2017 · Nation 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 118 views / 5 comments

GEOMETR.IT      politico.eu


* What should that future look like? 

There’s a feeling among European leaders that the bloc has weathered the worst of its recent crises — euro, refugee, Brexit — and should now turn its focus to the future.

The question now: What should that future look like? Is European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s vision of a more integrated union the right way forward? Or should we be heeding French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a more flexible bloc?

If the EU wants to survive its (inevitable) future crises, the answer is easy. The only real option is to get behind Macron’s vision: Leave reluctant countries behind and allow others to move ahead on key policies.

It won’t be easy, of course. The French president has plenty of opponents. Traditional federalists want to use the departure of the foot-dragging Brits to push remaining EU members closer together. They worry that too much “variable geometry” will weaken EU institutions, a new report by the Centre for European Reform has found. Meanwhile, Euroskeptic Central Europeans — including Poland’s ruling party — worry that in a Europe of “concentric circles” the dominant eurozone countries will treat those on the outer tiers as second-class citizens.

Brussels has offered countries to the east and south too little incentive for entering its orbit.

But despite these challenges, current political trends make it likely the EU will move toward Macron’s model. The French president has found a powerful partnerin German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he is preparing new initiatives on eurozone governance. These are likely to help further integrate the monetary union and create new eurozone institutions, including its own budget and system of parliamentary scrutiny.

Brexit is also pushing the EU in the direction of more flexibility, as a number of governments draw the lesson that the EU should try harder to accommodate different objectives and priorities among its members. Italian ministers, for example, reckon that it isn’t realistic to expect that every EU country will want to sign up to the same policies.

A more supple EU would be harder to break apart and more viable in the long run. Macron is right to say that governments wary of integration should not impede more ambitious countries from moving ahead. This more ambitious group simply needs to leave the door open for those on the periphery to join in later — if and when they meet a set of objective criteria for entering that inner circle.

Relieving countries from the duty of joining in certain policies could also help lower domestic political pressure. Despite Warsaw’s current hostility to Macron’s ideas, for example, many Poles will likely prefer an EU that doesn’t force them to join the euro.

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at : http://politico.eu

* * *


1.Каталония. Театрального эффекта ради? Блеянье газетных баранов  08.11.2017

Европа, дайошь политику, основанную на реальности!  08.11.2017

Войди в эту комнату, ты увидишь там следующую дверь. Европа  08.11.2017

Вопрос Столыпина: Америке нужны великие потрясения?  08.11.2017


2. Ukraine: What next?

in Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Europe 2017 · EX-USSR · Industry 2017 · Nation 2017 · NATO 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Ukraine 2017 52 views / 0 comments

Europe         Ukraine    USA        Ex-USSR   

GEOMETR.IT       neweasterneurope.eu


     * Inside Ukraine’s ideological renewal

The lecture

I make it to the third floor. The staircase is covered with professional photographs from the warzone. One of them bears the title “A machine gunner at work”. Randomly entering a room, I find myself in a bathroom, where the inside of the toilet has been painted in red, which brings to mind anti-Soviet and anti-Russian symbolism.

In the next room, a young bald man in a black t-shirt tightly embedding his chest and a knife attached to his belt is seating the newcomers in the classroom.

Today, the meeting is dedicated to the life and work of a French nationalist named Dominique Venner and is taking place in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of his suicide, committed in the hope of awakening the memory of the French people about the origins of the nation and in protest against the legalisation of same-sex marriage and mass immigration. As the event description announces “his last gesture – a suicide in Notre-Dame Cathedral – is not only a physical act of self-destruction, but also a wider act of disobedience against the contemporary world and the last dare, a silent accusation of the half-dead institutions, which could not preserve the Spirit of Europe”. As the event organisers explain, in his suicide note, Venner wrote that the time for action has come and “we cannot let the flame of the Spirit of Europe die out”.

The audience is diverse and includes many young men in military attire and students, but also some older people with astute faces. Judging from the heated discussions, the majority of them are regular visitors at Cossack House. Andrey Voloshin, a philosopher affiliated with the Azov movement, speaks about the hobbies of Venner when he was young (such as hunting and weapons) and his involvement in the Algerian war, which fascinated him because it was “similar to a hunt”. He mentions Venner’s early experiences with political and street activism and the uncanny smile crosses his face. When he explains how Venner, together with a friend, beat up “four niggers”, who were hanging out with a white girl, his smile turns into a laugh.

 The audience 

After the lecture, a young student who was recruited in his first year by “the Revenge” organisation, explains to me, chewing a toothpick, how he and his friends address socially important issues. They took over a building belonging to one of Kyiv’s universities, as it was being illegally rented out to an external party, while the space could have been given a more useful, social function. He explains that while they used to apply predominantly forceful methods in their work, they now cherish diplomatic solutions. He does not give details, but he is committed to setting up his own political party.

A married couple in their mid-forties do not hide their support when asked about the Cossack House: “We have to differentiate between Azov fighters and Azov social activities. They are not connected to each other”. The declaration is startling, given the omnipresence of Azov symbols. “They say various things about the Azov regiment, although nothing has been proven against them,” the couple continues. “You know how they slander people these days. You understand yourself who benefits from that. And we do not see anything wrong in their social activities or in the Cossack House. It is a great place with informative lectures and various events both for kids and adults,” they explain.

“Our kids can come here and spend time to their advantage instead of hanging out on the streets. They can study martial arts, read books, go to sport camps”. By sport camps, they probably mean the controversial military-patriotic “Azovets” trip, infamous for introducing children to the warzone. “They have amazing initiatives, they are strong and can build a new country. And when it comes to aggression and neo-fascist attitudes, these are all rumours. We have noticed nothing of the sort. Tell me, have you seen any aggression?” they ask rhetorically.

“You know, when I stumbled on the Cossack House’s Facebook page,” says a middle-aged Russian-speaking woman who joined the conversation, “I checked the work they do, and all their initiatives individually seemed harmless and useful, but as a whole… you understand, this focus on social life with a substantial dose of ideology reminds me of Hitlerjugend and Komsomol,” she confesses.

Either way, I wanted to find out more about this movement. And I know two ways of finding out: to read and to ask. I have already read all the articles; that is why I came to ask. As I arrived, I saw a young man in a library and I told him there are rumours that they are neo-Nazis and that I do not want to believe it, but I came to ask”, she says. “‘No’, the young man replied, ‘we are nationalists, we have nothing against other nationalities and ethnic minorities, check the books – there is no Mein Kampf here.’” Indeed, there was not.

The lady continued: “My next question was about Bandera. I said that I do not see him as a national hero and that it is difficult for me to ignore the question of his collaboration with the fascists, although I can understand his reasons. I said I am surprised with the heroisation of such people, because of what they did to Jews and Poles. I partly had the Volhynia massacre in mind, but more concretely it echo was it still being heard in society. To that, he responded that not only Poles were killed but Ukrainians too. But this was not my question”.

I left the building with certain unease and several questions mounting in my head. After yet another revolution, I got the impression that Ukrainian society is still waiting for its messiah, for a thorough renewal of social life. The paths that lie ahead are diverse. Let us hope that what the Cossack House and Azov have to offer are not the final destination.

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at :/http://neweasterneurope.eu

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Души прекрасные порывы, Дональд !  27.10.2017

Австро-Венгрия. Когда бравый солдат Швейк скрутит дулю Евросоюзу ?  27.10.2017

Вождь революции тов. Ленин стал бы звездой Twitter-2017 27.10.2017

Почему Молдовой правят политики с рейтингом в 1% ? 27.10.2017

Грузинский митинг в Киеве или «Мелкий бес» Ф.Сологуба  27.10.2017

Europa steht vor einem großen Dilemma  27.10.2017

Die ukrainische Zivilgesellschaft zwischen Skylla und Charybdis 27.10.2017

Ukraine: What next? 27.10.2017

Poland’s Burning Man 27.10.2017



1. Ukraine: What next?

in Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Europe 2017 · EX-USSR · Industry 2017 · Nation 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Ukraine 2017 73 views / 4 comments

Europe         Ukraine    USA        Ex-USSR   

GEOMETR.IT       neweasterneurope.eu


*Inside Ukraine’s ideological renewal

The Cossack House is a vibrant community centre founded in April 2016 by young nationalist activists. It is widely known for being a civil bastion of the radical Azov movement, dedicated to promoting right-wing views and bringing about a rebirth of Ukrainian nationalism.

In Ukraine radical right-wing groups are gaining influence. Their nationalistic worldview divides people into those who are “with us” and those who are “against us”. Within these groups, independent thought is often equated with treason or separatism, and it is often quickly labelled as “Kremlin propaganda”.

There is little room for grey areas, no middle ground, and no nuance. In their fight to win the hearts and minds, radical nationalist organisations in Ukraine have been reaching out to various social groups (especially young people) in order to build a community of patriotically-minded “new Ukrainians”. The Cossack House, run by the Azov movement, notorious for its use of neo-Nazi and SS symbolism, is one example of this phenomenon. Their goals are clear, as one of the leaflets promoting the centre reads: “Tomorrow the world will either belong to us, or to no one. Today you either join us, as you are strong and determined, or you will remain a part of the grey mass forever.” 

The ugly child of the EuroMaidan 

The Cossack House is a vibrant community centre founded in April 2016, dedicated to popularising right-wing views. It is based on Taras Shevchenko Lane in Kyiv’s historical centre, inside a building that once housed the Cossack Hotel.

The building was taken over by the “little black men”, the young Ukrainian patriots during the Revolution of Dignity. While it legally still belongs to its original owner, since the Euro Maidan it has become a space for squatting by various patriotically-minded organisations and the youth volunteer movement. It has also been used as the main educational base for what later became the Azov regiment. Today, according to AzovPress (Azov regiment’s official public relations voice), the Cossack House is a civil bastion of the wider Azov movement.

A multi-purpose youth complex, the Cossack House seeks to satisfy the needs and interests of the community on virtually every level: it hosts a literature club, a tattoo parlour, a “military zone” shop, an English language club, several sport halls and even an art workshop. It also provides accommodation for members of the Azov Regiment as well as foreign fighters involved in the war on Ukraine’s side. Sponsored by the Azov movement, the centre organises classes in the history of right-wing ideas, mostly provided by PhD candidates associated with the National Corps party (Azov’s political wing) and, on occasion, outside experts. The whole undertaking is co-ordinated by Andriy Biletsky, a soldier and politician and leader of the National Corps.

On an ideological level, the Cossack House was modelled on CasaPound Italia, a neo-fascist Italian movement founded by Gianluca Iannone, which in 2003 took over a six-storey tenement house in Rome and opened up a far-right squat. The place became home to the families of the movement’s members, but also to various social and cultural initiatives, a library, a gym and even a recording studio. But the Cossack House draws inspiration from other European movements, including the French Mouvement daction sociale, the Swedish Nordisk Ungdom, the Polish Młodzież Wszechpolska and the Lithuanian Lietuvių Tautinio Jaunimo Sąjunga. Like its foreign counterparts, the Cossack House aspires to be the source of an ideological renewal of Ukrainian nationalism.

Neon and flyers 

When walking down Shevchenko Street towards the Maidan, you can see the Cossack House on the right hand side, before a McDonald’s. On the façade on both sides of the entrance hang banners with the emblems of the Black Corpus (one of the symbols of the Azovregiment). A styled image of the Wolfsangel – a popular symbol in Nazi Germany – adorns the door, with the overlapping letters “I” and “N” meaning “the idea of a nation” ( Ідея Нації). The door is locked. I press a button at the entry and wait. When the buzz indicates that the door is open, I walk in.

I go upstairs and I find myself in a dark corridor where the walls are covered in black paint. The only source of light are two impressive LED emblems. To the left there is a symbol of the Wolfsangel, and to the right there is an image with the profile of a Cossack’s face. Next to the front door, I find an inviting coffee table with leaflets.

I pick up a few and go through them one by one. Some of the flyers are basic agitation brochures, offering unsophisticated populist messages, which usually do not change, no matter who the messenger is. But there are also other ones. I stop and read.

There is a flyer advertising a patriotic youth camp, “Azovets”, where young Ukrainians are encouraged to spend two weeks with the soldiers of the Azov regiment, in order to familiarise themselves with military materiel in practice and to hear lectures on Ukraine’s history. It mentions a survival tour for even the youngest Ukrainians.

A leaflet prepared by the “Student avant gardeyouth union, which seeks to change society and bring order to the streets of Ukraine, encourages young people to take part in survival and tactical medicine classes, as well as political discussions and military training. There are also several booklets of the National Corps. As they explain, contemporary Ukraine inherited the idea that citizens do not have the right to individual protection and are forced to rely on the protection of the state from Soviet propaganda. The solution, they claim, is to legalise private firearms in Ukraine, since “weapons in the hands of the citizens turn people into a nation, and lift the national spirit”.

The last brochure, with a distinct title “Strong family – strong state”, explains: “the demographic situation in the country is catastrophic. The population is aging. The best ones are dying”. The authors of the brochure recommend that the state should materially support young families based on a graded scale of individual merits.

Those individuals who lead an “anti-social” lifestyle – i.e., alcoholics, drug addicts, beggars, the homeless and drug dealers – should be deprived of social benefits. The last line chillingly reads: “A traditional family, and not an individual man, should be identified as the highest social value of the state … because traditional family values, marriage and maternity are the foundations for a healthy national body”.

* The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at : http://neweasterneurope.eu

* * *


Вождь революции тов. Ленин стал бы звездой Twitter-2017 26.10.2017

Грузинский митинг в Киеве или «Мелкий бес» Ф.Сологуба  26.10.2017

Чех щёлкнул Европу в нос. Что дальше? 26.10.2017

Почему Молдовой правят политики с рейтингом в 1% ? 26.10.2017

Türkei findet Freunde in Europa  26.10.2017

Die EU in Zahlen 26.10.2017

Where Europe went wrong 26.10.2017

Suspended president of Moldova  26.10.2017

Nowa Turcja w czterech palcach  26.10.2017


Ukraine needs neutrality

in Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Europe 2017 · EX-USSR · Industry 2017 · Nation 2017 · NATO 2017 · Person 2017 · Politics 2017 · Ukraine 2017 106 views / 5 comments

Europe         Ukraine    USA          Ex-USSR   



That is not a popular position in Kyiv and nor would it please Washington or Berlin. Luckily Dominique de Villepin, the former prime minister of France who is suggesting it, is not in a position to push it on Ukraine. But because he is not in office, de Villepin can say out loud what others are just thinking and he has remained an important voice in Europe for this reason.

“We live in a world of distrust. There is tension between Europe and Russia, between the countries on the shores of the South China Sea. Dialogue is the key. If you understand the fears of the person in front of you then you have made a huge step towards finding the solution to your problems,” de Villepin told bne IntelliNews on the sidelines of the Dialogue of Civilisations’ Rhodes Forum on October 6.

The theme of a rift ran through almost all the debates at the Rhodes conference where academics, presidents, prime ministers and civil society groups gather each year on the Greek island to debate the problems of the world. The conclusion was that polarisation is getting worse, creating an increasingly dangerous situation and no one has any real solutions to the problems.

“We see new rifts in Europe, between the EU and Russia, and within Europe too amongst the western democracies. And we seem to be failing to find solutions to these problems. Other countries, like Turkey, seem to be choosing authoritarian paths to deal with these problems,” says de Villepin. “Why are the presidents of Moldova and Bulgaria pro-Russia? These are the sorts of questions we need to ask.”

But none of these problems are new, argues de Villepin, who is probably most famous for his impassioned speech to the UN assembly arguing against the US invasion of Iraq. He suggests we have been naïve following the fall of the Berlin Wall 23 years ago on October 3, 1989.

“Was it the end of history? The end of something? Wrong,” de Villepin says, getting into a full rhetorical flow. “If there was a winner, then there has to be a looser. The liberal capitalist western view of the world was the winner. But the loser was the rest of the world. You can’t win a fight by a knock out blow in international politics. We forgot about the inequalities that were created.

We forgot about the poverty. We forgot about epidemics, the displaced. The world has been suffering in 1989, with 9/11 in 2001, with the Iraq war in 2003 and with the financial crisis in 2008. It’s time we woke up and saw what the real world looks like.”

But probably the most controversial comments de Villepin made concerned Ukraine. Europe, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has nailed its flag to the post on the Minsk II process, which has now stalled and is going nowhere. De Villepin suggests it is time to reassess the situation and look at alternatives.

“You have to ask yourself: what is the future of Ukraine? Where is it going geopolitically, historically and culturally? But it is clear that the country will have to have relations with the US

, Russia and the EU. So the obvious solution is for Ukraine to declare neutrality,” de Villepin says.

It’s a solution that will please nobody, but could work. The country is sharply divided into pro-EU and pro-Russia camps that are roughly split along a line through the middle of the country. Europe, and especially the US, could accept this proposal, as while they don’t necessarily want Ukraine in their camp, their support for Ukraine was to keep it out of Russia’s camp. Of all the players, the Kremlin would possibility be the most happy with this solution given one of its major goals includes preventing Ukraine from ever joining Nato.

De Villepin believes the Normandy format meetings are the mechanism that can deliver on this idea and help carve out a new status for Ukraine in the heart of Europe that would be acceptable to everyone. That doesn’t preclude close ties with the EU and expanded trading relations under the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) that has just gone into effect. Russia has said all along that it doesn’t have any objection to the DCFTA, provided it reflects and takes into account its own interests, as the Ukraine/Russia border used to be open and tariff free.

De Villepin doesn’t have the power or a formal role to make this happen. But his suggestion of neutrality for Ukraine is indicative of a growing “Ukraine fatigue” amongst donors as Kyiv backslides on almost the whole of its IMF programme commitments.

The Rada just passed a pension reform that was one of several crucial reforms demanded by the IMF, but watered down the terms.

It is also proposing to renege on promises to hike domestic gas tariffs just as the heating season starts by significantly reducing the amount by which they will be increased.

And a proposed land market reform has been abandoned completely and won’t be attempted until after the presidential elections in 2019 – if then. All this has partly been made possible by a recent $3bn Eurobond issue that has considerably weakened the IMF’s leverage and the government says it has more bond placements in the pipeline for next year too. But resolving the conflict with Russia is the starting point for any long-term reform and recovery of the country.

“Neutrality would create a new situation for politics and the economy. Then Russia and the US could find solutions where their own interests are not the issue. The only interest that counts in this situation is: what is in the best interests of the Ukrainian people. We need to forget about dreams as they won’t solve anything,” says de Villepin.


* * *


Украина. Майдан de la troisième? 23.10.2017

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Paul Krugman. Если сравнить Украину с Мексикой  23.10.2017

Что ждёт Ангелу Меркель? 23.10.2017

Капитан, никогда ты не станешь майором. Молдова  23.10.2017

Die Türkei lebt wohl ohne EU  23.10.2017


Ukraina: protesty zwolenników reform 23.10.2017



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