Somerset gives way to Ukraine

The EU, no money and no diplomacy!

Russian tank memorial in the UkraineRussian tank memorial in the Ukraine
So floods and why they happened and the role of the EU are yesterday's news. It's ironic that they were pushed off the front page by events in the Ukraine. In the Telegraph Liam Halligan wrote -

These protests began relatively peacefully back in November, when Yanukovych refused to sign a trade deal with the European Union. Again, many Ukrainians opposed this deal, not least because it demanded full market access for EU goods, without in turn granting Ukraine permission to export much of its farm produce to western Europe.

So far the EU and its apologists have managed to convince many people of the simplicity of the crisis in the Ukraine. Some Ukrainians are good, they want the EU while others are wicked, they want to remain aligned with Russia. This gross over simplification has been helped along by the usual suspects. Both the BBC and the Guardian seem only able to find quotes from Ukrainians who follow this line. But then it was much the same when the reports of unrest from Ireland and Greece came in. The problems, according to those interviewed by the media were many but only the lightest criticism of the EU was broadcast.

Halligan makes it plain that Russia must remain the significant force in this problem. Not only because of its proximity but because much of the money behind the problem is controlled by Russia.

Russia is still likely to be a big part of the solution to a restoration of financial stability in Kiev, in turn preventing Ukraine from upending any number of financial markets elsewhere. Russia’s trump card is its massive $500bn war-chest of foreign exchange reserves –the world’s fourth-biggest haul. Before Christmas, Moscow agreed to earmark $15bn to buy newly-issued Ukrainian sovereign debt over the next two years, so allowing Kiev to roll over its obligations.

It is very noticeable that the distant EU, so quick to encourage dissent, now thinks it can offer financial help for the problem to be solved. Europe is simply not in a position to do this. It's doubtful that Europe, in the shape of the EU, could either afford to do this or that this could be the solution.

But have we seen this attitude before? Yes, the 1990 reunification of Germany was undertaken without due diligence or any regard for the future. It was assumed that this was a 'good thing' and not just Germany but the EU could afford it. Then just 17 years later the EU finds itself in the most serious financial state since the adoption of the single currency. This phase is still not over but another adventure, this time absorbing the Ukraine, is contemplated.

However, all these years later it's a very different Russia. When the Berlin Wall came down it was in no condition to contemplate reaction but as Halligan has shown it has the wealth now and its military health has got to be at least equal to anything the EU could muster. The US is irrelevant, distant and with an outgoing president who has found himself in retreat from Afghanistan. Another ex-Russian problem snatched without forethought.

As for the moral high ground we see Italy is now on its third unelected Prime Minister and three EU counties, Greece, Ireland and Cyprus are still governed by a 'Troika'. So a bit of a democratic deficit there, plus we can all remember that if a vote goes against the EU the electors are forced to vote again.

For all sorts of reasons Russia under Putin has no reason to be generous to the EU. The Arab springs so vigorously promoted by Europe, have, so far, hardly been a model of success. As said before it's ironic that the Somerset floods were eclipsed by yet another EU inspired folly, which has already
created tension.