Russia-Ukraine War And Its Longstanding Impact On The EU Affairs

January 19, 2023
Russia-Ukraine War And Its Longstanding Impact On The EU Affairs

The initial Phase

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the world order has been on high alert. Ever since the blatant aggression, and the unprecedented act of genocide since WWII, there is no peace of mind across Europe. Along with the United States, many EU member states have served Ukraine as the country's ally.

Against the war's backdrop, the EU agenda has extended beyond the scope of formal proceedings and declarations. Realpolitik has dramatically changed in the background of lethal bombardments, infrastructural devastation, energy blackouts, economic straits, and millions of refugees draining from the occupied territories.

Russia's act of terror is beyond the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine. It has emerged as a well-planned act of disruption against western civilisation. Nonetheless, Russian propaganda, fueled by fake news and corrupted pro-Moscow politicians across the EU and beyond, facilitates the ongoing warfare.

Even though the whole world daily watches horrible scenes from the ruined cities of Ukraine, there are Putin's lobbyists that disrupt the EU's integrity, safety, and stability.

While there are implications that, in 2023 and beyond, the EU agenda will depend much on the geopolitical course led by Russia, the current shifts on the continent have made it clear that living without Russia is a far better decision than being manipulated by it.

The power of Unity 

It has taken Europe less than a year to overcome the dangerous dependency on gas, which was actively used by Russians as leverage. Around 80% of Russian pipeline gas has been replaced and the war has accelerated the EU’s green transitioning politics.

Despite the year being tough, with energy bills skyrocketing throughout the region, the EU lowered gas prices faster than anyone anticipated by working together. The European natural gas price has dropped by 80% since its peak in August, below the levels before the Ukraine war. Russia’s threat has once again become futile.

Needs to be mentioned, that some of the state governments are still full of pro-Moscow politicians zealous to promote anti-EU messages. For decades, Putin's establishment invested billions of dollars to disseminate pro-Kremlin propaganda among Europeans and the rest of the world. The current outcome is a disintegrated EU agenda. "United in Diversity," European political leadership still lacks consensus on the war in Ukraine.

The countries like Hungary (along with other former members of the Eastern Bloc) have much deteriorated the EU's solidarity against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The EU governments are now secretly seeking intermediaries to pass necessary weapons to Ukraine. That is to say that their political establishments are still scared of breaking ties with Russia.

Life without Russia

As in movies, in real life people struggle to stop romanticizing Russians. The most recent World Economic Forum in Davos spotlighted major changes in the EU landscape.

Notwithstanding the explicit message sounding like “its internal affairs and on the foreign policy front, the Union should further seek ways to get on without Russia”, the implicit one definitely cannot let go of ties, russian villains and the money, thus businesses and officials are seeking the way back to the forbidden market.

With the rest of the Western World, the EU cannot downplay the war in Ukraine anymore. On this background, high on the EU agenda are new markets for food, energy, and metals. Shunning Moscow is only possible when the EU will set itself free from its longstanding dependence on Russia.

Additionally, EU member states should actively supply the so much-needed weapons to Ukraine to stop the war because the war is not anywhere near ending yet.

The new EU agenda without Russia comes as a major challenge to cope with for decades to come. The Western sanctions enacted against Russia have marked a powerful geostrategic move to cut Moscow off from the processes of economic integration.

On the other side of the fence are Russian gas and oil and recent grain exports high on the EU agenda. Plus, having adjusted to a new normal, Russia neglects the imposed sanctions. The South, India, and Africa are still with Russia, at least economically.

Nonetheless, western sanctions have weakened Russia as a global economic power. Financial restrictions have worsened Russia’s potential to lead military operations. There is no way for Putin's regime to continue the war without strategic partnerships with Iran and North Korea.

Final thoughts

The major takeaway for the EU here is greater solidarity. Even with the “eyes wide shut” they are seeing who has been an aggressor and a threat to global peace and security all these years.

The agenda towards the continuous support of Ukraine is the only win-win strategy against Russia. The more united and integrated the EU is, the sooner it will eliminate its horrible dependence on Russia's supplies.

While Russia is defeating itself on all fronts, it is high time the EU strengthened its stance on strategic positions. The West’s energy countermeasures are in effect now with the EU’s ban on Russian crude oil imports and $60 per barrel price cap among other restrictions underway.

The Russian context will be at stake in global affairs for a long time. The big question is how soon the EU and the rest of the world will manage to get it off their geopolitical agenda.

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These challenges and many more will be the prior topic of the EU GR Forum and will be discussed by the most anticipated GR and PA professionals on 23-24th February in Brussels.


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