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Russia is no longer a strategic partner – European Parliament

June 11, 2015

Yesterday the European Parliament passed another resolution relating to Russia.  One of the headline grabbing paragraphs in this latest text stated:

“Russia, because of its actions in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine, can no longer be treated as, or considered, a ‘strategic partner’.

Russia now openly positions itself and acts as a challenger of the international democratic community and its law-based order, not least by seeking to redraw by force borders within Europe.”

Quite so.  Seemingly ethics and political/democratic values are not quite dead upon the sacrificial alter of economic interests.

Whilst, the full adopted text has yet to appear upon the European Parliament website, it is not going to differ greatly from the text found here of a relevant plenary sitting held in May 2015.  Have a read, for in years to come it may be quite relevant.

As is usually the case, nobody will be surprised to read a similar Duma generated resolution stating that the European Parliament can no longer be treated as, or considered, a “strategic partner” – The old “reciprocity rules” dictate such a response is likely.

The effect of this resolution on The Kremlin and its thinking, however, is likely to be little to none in the immediate.  It holds the same general contempt for the European Parliament as it does for the Russian Duma.  The only EU institution The Kremlin may have adequate respect for is the European Council, and that is because it is made up of the 28 national leaders who decide on any meaningful collective EU foreign policy – and even then, it would greatly prefer to ignore that institution where ever possible and deal bilaterally with the 28 national leaders.

However, looking a little further into the future, any EU recognition and subsequent agreements with the Eurasian Union would require a favourable European Parliament if ratification of legal instruments is required.

Whilst it may be quite some time before the EU gets anywhere near officially recognising the Eurasian Union through meaningful interaction – though should China do so and start signing and ratifying meaningful deals then perhaps that time line may quicken – it would be difficult for the European Parliament, having disowned Russia as a “strategic partner” for all the reasons listed in the above link, to then begin ratifying legal instruments of a strategic nature – unless all the remedies proscribed in the above link have been implemented.  Don’t hold your breath!

Thus, this resolution is quite meaningless to The Kremlin in the immediate term – long term however, it may become somewhat problematic.

If we are to ponder whether China will recognise the Eurasian Union and sign/ratify meaningful legal instruments, the question has to be why not?  Any dramatic expanding of Chinese economic weight throughout the Eurasian Union space – a weight that will dwarf that of the Eurasian Union members – will in turn get free security via the CSTO for its investment in that geographical/geopolitical region should any local unrest put such investment at risk.

Entirely sensible from a Chinese point of view, but Russian dependence upon China is as distasteful to The Kremlin as dependence upon the EU.  A counterweight would be desirable.

Therefore potential “issues” may lay in wait following today’s European Parliament resolution, despite any scoffing at its impotency today.

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