One year has passed since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. On the morning of 24 February 2022, we woke up to a new reality that definitively ended the post-Cold War status quo. Russia, theoretically possessing the second most powerful army in the world, violated international law and began bombing military and […]
As fundamental pillars of the global order are shifting, the European Union is forced to adjust to a world driven by great power competition. In doing so, it must not lose track of its own existential purpose. Europe is faced with seismic changes in its regional and global surroundings. Following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, […]
Not discretion, but clarity is the better part of valour. Ukraine has courageously resisted the imperialist assault on its sovereignty by Russia, whose most important war aim is to reach back to Peter the Great. Russia wants access to warm-water ports, and buffers against invasion to its West and North. Whatever the successes of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, these aims have all been tainted in one way or another.
When, back in 2021, as the Foreign Minister of Spain, I approached NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about Spain hosting the 2022 Summit, I could not anticipate the very specific circumstances that the alliance faces today. I could not have imagined how decisive the Madrid summit would be for peace and stability in Europe.
By granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and by recommitting to the EU membership of the Western Balkans, the European Union opened a new phase of its enlargement which will redesign the European political map again. It was undoubtedly the right decision to assert European sovereignty and also to welcome an embattled country which is showing with bravery that it belongs to the European future and not to a war of the past. A war of the past in Europe because it combines the clash of empires of WW I with the clash of political regimes of WW II. The future in Europe is being created by the values of freedom, equality, solidarity, democracy and sustainability and by a process of European integration which involves enlargement but also deepening. Deepening is a pre-condition for successful enlargement. But as enlargement has now become a political and moral imperative, the issue today is not about choosing between one or another. It is rather about how to make both with a new approach.
The war in Ukraine has exposed different views on sanctions against Russia by Serbia, and the Republic of Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the one side, and other Western Balkan states and entities on the other. The EU should handle the issue cautiously, to avoid further splits and to prevent securitisation of the issue.