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Grandstanding and consequences

September 11, 2014

On 9th September, my twitter chum and occasional policy sparing partner Jacek Saryusz-Wolski tweeted:

A more detailed summary of what that means can be found here. My somewhat juvenile response to the discussion that followed:

But there is a point to it.

With every grandstanding event that annoys The Kremlin, there have been immediate consequences.  Be it the ousting of former President Yanukovych and the illegal annexation of Crimea that followed, some seriously poor decisions from those that replaced the ousted Yanukovych regime, particularly in the immediate period thereafter that fueled internal concerns and played directly into the hands of the Kremlin propaganda machine, to a reinvigorated NATO in and around the Baltics that led to yet another immediate response  deliberately aimed to undermine.

That is not to say that either Ukraine, the EU or NATO need or should bow down to Kremlin sensibilities to their detriment.  None should.  But an awareness that there will be consequences, particularly in reply to any grandstanding, will surely have dawned on politicians  – even if those consequences are self-harming and/or self-defeating to The Kremlin over the longer term.

The first plenary session of the new EU Parliament is next week – 15th – 18th September in Strasbourg.

President Poroshenko assured Chancellor Merkel that Ukraine would ratify the EU AA/DCFTA in September when they met in person at the end of August.  Thus it maybe that within the next 8 days, and certainly within the next 20 days if President Poroshenko is to keep his word to Mrs Merkel, that a Ukrainian RADA-European Parliament mutual ratification will occur.

There will be a great deal of pleasure and metaphorical trumpeting from both sides as a result of this mutual (and more or less) simultaneous ratification.  A same day, same time event may well occur if it can be engineered that way for the purposes of symbolism.

The aim of the mutual ratification process is to bring into force the agreement from 1 November (even though some Member States individual parliaments will still be finding parliamentary time slots to ratify nationally).  It is a high profile event, and one that will have a major effect upon Ukraine in particular should it diligently follow the AA and DCFTA framework over the next few years.

Ergo, it seems entirely likely from recent Kremlin performance, that there will be a swift consequence.  How, where, what and with whom remain to be seen.  A symmetrical or asymmetrical retort?  An equally grandstanding reply?

The when, however, is likely to be almost immediate.

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