While Turkish troops are invading Syria to fight against the Kurds who stood up against DAESH, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy struggles to compose a united reaction by the Member States. There is no strong stand against this violation of international law, against this aggression. The diplomatic language includes the word “condemn”, although that would not impress the Turkish President very much, given that he showed no embarrassment when insulting the German Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is one more proof of the crisis of diplomacy and multilateralism that seems to be fading away in face of a Darwinist understanding of how communities (and States) should be living together – letting the strongest rule over the others.
How is it possible for the EU to be indifferent? How can this be tolerable to us Europeans, whose European citizenship stems precisely from the idea that multilateralism and peaceful conflict resolution are the rule of thumb for international relations. We have been hearing about – and demanding – the need for bolder politics across all areas. What we have seen is a frozen political entity, unable to speak up and to stand up against aggression, unable to impose any real sanctions. We have just protested against the portfolio called Protecting the European Way of Life and the only conclusions we can draw from this set of (or lack of) decisions is that the Member States are afraid of the prospect of the 3.5 million refugees in Turkey crossing the borders and moving towards northern Europe. No one can deny that it would trigger a new crisis situation between and within European countries.
However, it is now clear that the infamous Turkey-deal, which was a deal and not a Treaty, was a gamble on stable relations and leadership. A very risky gamble – how can you count on political stability at times when nothing is stable? We have got an American President who becomes more and more aggressive and whose communications leave us astonished day after day: he talks of governmental action as if was a corporate affair, a business deal. Treaties and agreements are no business deals and it is not acceptable that even the outgoing Commission President is using his term to seize a last minute BREXIT agreement. Sorry, where are we? The issues of war and peace, of violation of international law, the stupidity of pretending to have taken back control.
Diplomacy is an art and it has helped solve endless international crises. We have experienced what happens when it fades away, with the appeasement policy against Nazi-Germany or with the disastrous diplomacy which has accelerated, not caused, the war on the Balkans. If multilateralism is under threat and if the rule of the strongest (and often the most idiotic) against the others becomes the new norm, the fire in the House has gone totally out of control.
This is why we need strong European Institutions that revive and rediscover the communitarian method. There is no way to play the Council against the Parliament, both have different legitimacy and both are needed. Maybe not everybody is aware that the old order is about to disappear and a new order shall be built on rejuvenated rules, on a reaffirmed respect of the rule of democratic law, on the respect for international treaties, on the preservation of Peace and the respect for planetary boundaries by putting people first in this web of norms and value called social contract.
Nothing new? Exactly, we said this already ten years ago when campaigning in the framework of the SPRING ALLIANCE with trade unions and Civil Society Organisations. And the problem is that it is still valid!