European Council Fails to Address Peoples' Concerns

The European Council, the executive body of the European Union (EU), held a formal meeting in Brussels from October 20 to 21, following on its informal meeting held in Prague on October 7.

In his invitation to the meeting, President of the Council Charles Michel stated, "The focal point of our agenda is the energy crisis, on which we must act with the utmost urgency. In particular, we must imperatively intensify our three lines of action: reducing demand, ensuring security of supply and containing prices." He further stated, "Our economic outlook will depend to a large extent on how we manage our energy crisis." Michel went on to say that the Council would also "return to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine." As a final point on the agenda, Michel stated, "Lastly, in the light of the current geo-political context, we need to hold a strategic discussion on China, exchanging views on how we wish to frame this critical relationship in the future."

Notably, the entire agenda was presented as if the conflict in Ukraine and the energy crisis are not inextricably connected and the result of EU countries taking up sanctions against Russia. Thus, the European Council, by basing its agenda on the disinformation that Russia, and not NATO, is ultimately responsible for the conflict in Ukraine, has as its aim to isolate Russia, not to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. According to such a rendering of the situation, it is as if Russia is not historically, culturally and economically an integral part of Europe, thus its peoples and their concerns for peace and security can simply be excised from Europe.

At its meetings, the Council adopted several "conclusions on energy and economy."

"16. In the face of Russia's weaponisation of energy, the European Union will remain united to protect its citizens and businesses and take the necessary measures as a matter of urgency.

"17. The European Council has agreed that in light of the ongoing crisis, efforts to reduce demand, to ensure security of supply, to avoid rationing, and to lower energy prices for households and businesses across the Union need to be accelerated and intensified, and the integrity of the Single Market has to be preserved."

Various proposed measures were aimed at capping prices on natural gas, joint purchasing of gas, improvements to the functioning of energy markets, fast-tracking the use of renewable energy, increased efforts at saving energy, "energy solidarity measures in case of gas supply disruptions at national, regional or Union level, in the absence of bilateral solidarity agreements," and structural reform of the electricity market.

Regarding "Energy and Economy," the Council "discussed the energy crisis and agreed on the need to accelerate and intensify efforts to reduce energy demand, avoid rationing, secure supply and lower prices. They stressed that the integrity of the single market had to be preserved.

"In the face of Russia's weaponisation of energy, the European Union will remain united to protect its citizens and businesses and take the necessary measures as a matter of urgency European Council conclusions, 20 October 2022."

The Council talks about "protecting households and businesses" from the energy crisis it has created, however it said nothing about immediate measures to urgently alleviate the crisis facing the people, not only to do with the exorbitant costs of energy but the overall increases in the cost of living that surpassed unsustainable levels and triggered mass protests at the end of August and beginning of September. This indicates that the EU's sanctions and warmongering directed at Russia are to come at the expense of the peoples and their needs.

As concerns the EU's decision to back U.S./NATO-led aggression against Russia via Ukraine, the Council in its Ukraine-Russia conclusions adopted at the meeting, said that it "addressed Russia's escalating war of aggression against Ukraine, which is putting European and global peace and security at risk. The European Council is determined to counter disinformation aimed at negating our collective efforts to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine and rules-based international order. It reiterates that Russia bears the sole responsibility for the current energy and economic crises."

The conclusions go on to portray the situation in Ukraine in the most one-sided manner, to not only claim that retaliation against Russia is justified, but also that there can only be a military solution to the crisis, the word negotiations is not mentioned once. The Council states:

"The European Union will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. It will continue to provide strong political, military and financial support to Ukraine, including for its liquidity needs, and step up its humanitarian response, in particular for winter preparedness. The decision to conduct an EU Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine was adopted by the Council, as well as the recent decision to further increase the European Peace Facility assistance measures in support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The European Council commends the work on the ground of the civilian EU Advisory Mission in Ukraine."

The EU Military Assistance Mission referred to above was established by the EU's Foreign Affairs Council established the EU Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM Ukraine) on October 17. The EU's explanation of its military mission in Ukraine further reveals its objectives in Ukraine:

"The EU objective is to train on EU soil a first batch of 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers through both basic and specialised as well as individual and collective training in order to respond to the urgent short-term needs expressed by Ukraine. The Mission's mandate is scalable, flexible and modular in order to adapt swiftly to the evolving Ukrainian needs. It will provide a long-term and sustainable platform for the support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

"EUMAM Ukraine will enhance the overall training coordination and scale, building on the existing training support, which Member States are already providing bilaterally to Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Mission also enables EU Member States that are not (yet) offering bilateral training to contribute to the overall effort.

"The Council also adopted assistance measures under the European Peace Facility (EPF) that will allow the EU Member States to continue supporting the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders of the country. A sixth tranche of support will add 500 million to the resources already mobilised under the EPF for Ukraine, thereby bringing the total amount to more than 3.1 billion. The scope of the equipment to be provided in the new support package is in line with the current priorities as expressed by the Ukrainian government."

Overall, the European Council meetings on October 20 and 21 indicate that the EU's agenda is based on geopolitical calculations, in which the peoples of Europe are a sideline consideration. The peoples have been protesting in the tens of thousands to express their demands for acceptable living conditions, peaceful relations with Russia and their rejection NATO and its warmongering which the EU and the European Council are not capable of addressing.

(With files from European Union, European Council)

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 10 - October 2022

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