EU flags at the European Commission TPCOM/Flickr

Closing Europe’s Strategy Gap

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has been a hot topic of analysis for almost a year. But one question has largely escaped thorough examination: what Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine indicates about the EU’s foreign policy.

MADRID – The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has been a hot topic of analysis for almost a year. But one question has largely escaped thorough examination: what Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine indicates about the European Union’s foreign policy.

During the early stages of the crisis, Germany, which had bet heavily on Russia’s modernization, was averse to taking any consequential action. But, as the crisis deepened, German Chancellor Angela Merkel worked to persuade her European counterparts to implement a broad and biting sanctions regime.

This certainly was a step in the right direction, but it did nothing to address the foreign-policy failings that helped spark the Ukrainian crisis and continue to undermine Europe’s response – namely, the EU’s misguided Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and its muddled approach to energy. On both of these fronts, the EU’s lack of strategic vision has created the impression that Europe is repeatedly being outmaneuvered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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