V4 divergences: symptom of a deeper crisis in Europe?
Sofia Casablanca, Analyst of Eastern Europe Studies Center
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The spread of the Ukrainian crisis has aroused strong reactions of the USA and the European Union against Russian interference in Ukrainian politics. Russia is a strategic market for Europe and the close trades and financial links have pushed the European Union in the direction of a more moderate and careful response, at first. Because of the stalemate in the dialogue between Moscow and Kiev and the threat of a Russian military intervention in Ukraine, the EU has aligned its plan sanctions against Russia with the USA one, between July and September.
Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union has exposed big fault lines inside the bloc. Unless the divisions are overcome as soon as possible, the markets will pounce on the euro, having already done so on the British pound. Uncertainty over when and how to negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU will lead to paralysis inside the bloc that Euroskeptic movements will exploit. The yawning gap between citizens, leaders, and the EU institutions will widen. And resentment could build up between the big and small member states.
A mismatch between the expectations of Belarus and the West about the form that their future relationship will take are about to come to a head, likely leaving Belarus disappointed and rapproachment with the West in a perilous state.
There are a range of proven tactics that the West could use to destabilise Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia but the question is whether Western countries believe such action would lead to a Russia more favourable to Western interests.