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  • Sai Charan

No, Europe is United

The Berlaymont building, Brussels. Image Credit: EmDee.

Unity among the nations of Europe is hard to come by and does not seem to last long when occasionally achieved. Russia’s war on Ukraine forced a united Europe. This unity’s fragility is now becoming apparent. The usual in-fighting between European countries has resumed, but unity is also impressively holding up despite the strains.

European countries have fractured into two groups: hawkish Eastern European states and the more dovish traditional powers of Western Europe. The East has accused the West of being feckless. Some of this criticism is just but a lot of it isn’t. French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholtz’s mixed messages aren’t doing them any favours, but they have also consistently backed sanctions designed to painfully hurt Russia’s economy.

Democracies are always messy businesses by design, even more so for 27 democracies. It is crucial to remember that politicians are also performing for their electorates. Every time Italian Prime Minister Draghi favours more arms to Ukraine, he is taking a political punt at home risking the support of the two biggest parties backing his brittle coalition, the Northern League and Five Star Movement, who are fiercely opposed to sending more arms to Ukraine.

Despite all the criticisms of Western Europe, sanctions against Russia have been approved at an unprecedented rate by the European Union. Such proposals stood no chance without the solid backing of the West. Granted that the West is still vacillating over natural gas sanctions against Russia, this dithering is to be somewhat expected given the all-important role of natural gas to the mighty economies of the West.

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