miercuri, 14 mai 2014

How does the situation in Ukraine change Romania?

The proposed topic is wide and for reasons of space we can only afford a brief analysis. We propose to focus this analysis on how the crisis in Ukraine (or more precisely the crisis with Russia) changed the European agenda, international institutions, and affected the Romanian interests in the region (or, conversely, whether or not it created opportunities).

First, Europe has moved and continues to move more slowly than the U.S. when it comes to condemning the situation in Ukraine, and in particular Russia's involvement. The motivation is not only geographical proximity, but also growing political and economic interdependence over the last 20 years: Russian oligarchs have interests in most European capitals and many European companies are doing just fine in Russia, managing profitable results. From there we can see the tension between political and economic "home", with the most obvious example being Germany. Tensions at home steered the positioning towards consensus in the European institutions.

Second, international environmental effect: the UN is blocked (the veto in the Security Council that includes the U.S., China and Russia); NATO revived multiple anniversaries (65 years from creation , 25 years after the fall of the wall Berlin, 10 and 15 years of the last great enlargement); the U.S. realizes the importance of positioning too strongly to Russia (the counterpart turn to Asia); a China conservative (waiting as a third party for the other two, Russia and the West, to weaken each other); and finally energy operators outside Europe are courted by a new customer (for LNG - liquid natural gas).

Third, what does this mean for Romania? It means that any crisis has its threats as well as opportunities. The danger is for both our borders (do not forget Article 5 of the NATO Charter): we currently have a brotherly relationship with Moldova, but they will most likely just tease, and not act as strong as the Ukraine. Opportunities for us are found in the fact that we are deeply valuable geopolitically for Euro-Atlantic partners; in additional foreign investment opportunities; an opportunity to finally invest in accelerated energy security. Will we make the most of the new international context? It depends on the wisdom of the leaders of our two palaces, Cotroceni and Victoria, in the turmoil of an election year.

Dan LUCA / Brussels

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