EU's Fear-Driven Foreign Policy: Inconsistent Support and Inaction

The European Council has approved the renewal of EU's autonomous trade measures for Ukraine and Moldova, suspending import duties and quotas for another year. The decision aims to support these countries economically amidst Russia's ongoing military aggression.

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Trim Correspondents
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EU's Fear-Driven Foreign Policy: Inconsistent Support and Inaction

EU's Fear-Driven Foreign Policy: Inconsistent Support and Inaction

The European Union's foreign policy decisions have been increasingly driven by fear, leading to inconsistent support for Ukraine, a transactional approach to North Africa and the Middle East, and inaction on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Concerns over Russia, migrants, Gaza, and the potential return of former U.S. President Donald Trump have shaped the EU's recent moves on the global stage.

Why this matters: The EU's foreign policy decisions have far-reaching implications for global stability and security, and a fear-driven approach can lead to inconsistent and short-sighted decisions that undermine the bloc's credibility and effectiveness. A more coherent and principled foreign policy is crucial for addressing the complex challenges facing the EU and promoting peace, prosperity, and human rights worldwide.

In a show of support for Ukraine amidst Russia's ongoing military aggression, the European Council has approved the suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian and Moldovan exports to the EU for another year. This decision, which applies to Ukraine from June 6, 2024, until June 5, 2025, and to Moldova from July 25, 2024, to July 24, 2025, is seen as a crucial step in supporting these countries economically after they were granted EU candidate status in June 2022 and accession negotiations were opened in December 2023.

The EU's autonomous trade measures for Ukraine concern the continued suspension of all outstanding customs duties and quotas under Title IV of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (DCFTA), with two safeguard mechanisms implemented to protect the EU market. Similarly, the measures for Moldova take the form of a temporary suspension of all outstanding customs duties and quotas under Title V of the Association Agreement.

The European Commission proposed these measures on January 31, 2024, in the context of Russia's continuing war of aggression against Ukraine and the consequent ongoing impact on Moldova. While the EU's support for Ukraine and Moldova is evident in this decision, critics argue that the bloc's overall approach to foreign policy has been inconsistent and driven by fear.

The EU's transactional approach to North Africa and the Middle East, as well as its inaction on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, have raised concerns about the bloc's commitment to its stated values and principles. As the EU grapples with the challenges posed by Russia, migrants, Gaza, and the potential return of Trump, it remains to be seen whether the bloc can develop a more coherent and principled foreign policy that goes beyond short-term fear-driven decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • EU's foreign policy driven by fear, leading to inconsistent decisions.
  • EU approves 1-year extension of autonomous trade measures for Ukraine and Moldova.
  • Measures aim to support Ukraine and Moldova economically amid Russia's aggression.
  • EU's approach to North Africa, Middle East, and Israel-Palestine conflict raises concerns.
  • EU needs a more coherent, principled foreign policy to address global challenges.