EU elää ja vahvistuu; Ranska vetovastuussa

Osallistuin vuosina 2014-2017 EU-komission laajaan Euroopan unionin tulevaisuustyöhön. Se perustui Eurooppa-neuvoston toimeksiantoon joulukuussa 2013. Komission puheenjohtaja José Barroso kääntyi Jean Monnet-yhtesön puoleen hankkeen toteuttamiseksi. Olin ainut suomalainen, joka sai kutsun osallistua siihen. Työn tuloksen syntyi Lissabon- ja Geneve-vetoisesti laaja artikkeliteos ”The Future of the European Union, 2017”, jossa on mukana minun näkemykseni tarpeellisesta EU:n kehityssuunnasta. Oheistan artikkelini Ranskan tänään 1.1.2022 alkaneen puheenjohtajakauden kunniaksi.

 

Jukka Seppinen

Valt. tri., oik. kand., tutkija

Jean Monnet yhteisön jäsen

 

Ote Komission julkaisemasta teoksesta ”The Future of the European union 2017″.

EU Interdisciplinary Studies
EU Interdisciplinary Studies
Jukka Seppinen*

It is a great pleasure to me to participate in the debate on the future
of our European Union opened by President Barroso during the Jean
Monnet Conference of 2013. My ambition is to give some perspectives
as an historian and as a former diplomat with a specialty concerning the
Cold War era, European history and Russia/Soviet Union.

One general starting point

As my profession requires, I’ll start by giving a general framework.
I will not give any analysis over the past, but I’ll try to draw some
basic lines which are common to the EU to be taken into account when
creating for the future necessary political stability for a successful
economic and social development.

One starting key point is that after the October Revolution 1917
Soviet-Russia adopted Lenin’s view: unification of Europe is against
Russia’s basic interests. This was wrapped mainly by Marxist-leninist
argumentation and rhetoric – but included old Russian elements of a
continuous expansion, too. Even after the fall of Soviet Empire in 1991,
this element is still valid in the Russian leadership of to-day. Russia is
still a country who has no friends, no enemies but only interests.

Since I wrote these words two years ago (March 2014), two basic
lines have emphasized the ultimate necessity to develop the EU’s
capacity to respond to these threats. It was just in spring 2014, when
Russia did annex Crimea. At the same time the Russian warfare in the
eastern parts of Ukraine deepened in order to destabilize the country.
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And lately, Russia opened a war in Syria in September 2015 in order to
bombard herself a big power foothold in the Middle East and to meet on
a bipolar basis the U.S., like under the times of the Soviet Union. As a
consequence of the Syrian civil war, since 2011, the djihadist terrorism,
other kind of organized criminality and the high influx of refugees has
destabilized the political situation inside European Union up to the
Northern parts of it. It is worth noting that Kremlin seems not yet have
recognized the EU as an actor worth being noted really seriously. This
is one feature to be changed in the near future. It seems to me that one
Russian empire or state interest may only lay on a pure mental basis,
between the ears. The method to implement a mental interest is easily
found within the repertoire of military actions.

It is worth underlining that the big line for Europe must go on towards
more integration. Europe’s own history is not to be forgotten. The actual
difficulties cannot be fatal to the EU. The inside political will is the
key to meet a prosperous and peaceful future. Finally, for instance, the
overwhelming majority of Finns is searching stability of the European
Union. They are not ready to leave the Eurozone. The opposite tries
are of populist nature and pure personal exercises to get power. It is
not responsible to use the natural reactions of emergency situations of
the populations to build up fragmentary political shortsighted populistic
movements, and thus give place to the major threats to grow.

The actual Russian president is a man who is a former ideologically
hardliner Stalinist type high officer of the KGB, stationed in the late
DDR. Here we can find a direct line to the Tcheka, Lenin’s Intelligence
service from 1917. Russia’s movements in the international scene are
conditioned by this complexity mixed by modern requirements, by
inside SU-elements in many brains encouraged by the Kremlin led
heavy propaganda and, by difficulty to recognize facts to respect in
Europe. Lately we have heard President Vladimir Putin say publicly
that Russia has no respect to the borders, for instance.

One can say that tchekist-type KGB lost against liberal wing in 1991,
but succeeded in its counterrevolution with Vladimir Putin in order to
re-establish the Soviet order. Russia is not, of course, a direct copy of
the Soviet Union, but as Soviet as it nowadays can be. To the Kremlin, it
is obviously easy to move on getting back political positions and areas
which the Soviet Union lost 1991. As it is well known, to President
Putin the fall of the Soviet Union was “a geopolitical catastrophe”.
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I wrote two years ago as follows: “So, my first conclusion is that
a prerequisite to a lasting economic and social recovery inside the EU
means capacity to control effects of possible crisis in the surrounding
world”. I repeat that.

The Foreign Affairs and Defence are thus in the key position when
creating a solid framework for inside economic and social development.
While knowing the story of European Army once ready in the paper
during the early 1950’ and the current situation, the Defence matters
must have a first priority. The organization on diplomacy of the EU
seems to have started rather well, and the Ukrainian crisis has obviously
deepened the solidarity. This said, I have to add right away that the
refugee crisis has gone to an opposite direction. The EU must not to be
sacrificed to the consequences of violent crises. There must be a strict
control on the outer borders of the EU in order to avoid many catastrophes
inside the EU. Too large uncontrolled influx is just too much. I am even
for strong measures to protect EU-member states of a destabilization
which would give place for populist political movements – many of
them are just encouraging Russia to activate the sources which launch
people to leave their homes – and deepen the destabilization of different
EU-countries. Russia has thus a complex of motifs in their movements.
Kremlin sees the weakening of the EU as a victory.

To add shortly, I welcome the French decision to activate the article
42.7 of the Lisboa Treaty after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November
2015.

What is the best institutional framework for the Eurozone, in
order for it to function in the most efficient, transparent and
democratic manner?

Blueprint for a Political (federal) Union beginning with the Eurozone
I am a partisan for a parliamentary way of life. All basic activities
must be approved legally by a Parliament freely elected by European
Citizens. In that sense, when making sure that the Commission and other
institutions are working in an efficiently way, the Parliament’s profile
should be higher than today. One factor seems to be the poor visibility
of the European Parliament in the daily media in many countries. This
weakens the feeling of many voters of the importance of the European
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Parliament and gives place for populism with anti-EU slogan-oriented
rhetoric. By this method in Finland, for instance, an anti-EU oriented
party with populistic method, baptize by the party participants
themselves as True Finns, Real Finns or Basic Finns, gathered support
with empty slogans, like “Where the EU, there a problem”. The hard
populism led to a situation where the face of that movement got the post
of Foreign Minister in summer 2015. While it is obvious that an antiEU populistic Foreign Minister cannot be a representative of the grand
majority of pro-EU.

Finns, the popularity of that party has dropped dramatically down
to under ten percent from a level of almost 20 percent during the
parliamentary election in spring 2015. The hard core of voters for that
party seems to lay between six to nine percent.

This reflects some general trends now in Europe. Meanwhile, new
member candidates are seeking the membership of the Union and the
Eurozone having new members.

The European integration needs enlargement as well as periods to
deepen the integration (élargir et approfondir). We have now obviously
in hands strategically a period to deepen the integration.
Besides the solidarity between the Union members in the field of
Defence, it should be strengthened through deepening by European
Parliament the common framework of budgetary and monetary politics.
The Bank union is a step in good direction. There must be a controlled
and responsible, certain balance between incomes and expenses.

Without being a specialist in economics, it seems to me appropriate
to approach this question through budgetary development. A federal
budget would be a tool to deepen the Union. When accepting a two
stroke advancement, the first steps could be taken inside the Eurozone.
That would need a federal institution to implement the parliamentary
decision on the budget and to plan each year a common really meaningful
budget.

Federal budget would require an organization similar to national
“Ministry of Finance”. This institution should not have any law-making
capacity. Each member state would, of course, have its own national
budget and Government as it is now. In what extension the federal and
the national budget should cover the need, is a separate question and
subject for large discussion. Fields to create a genuine integration are
many.
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The ongoing crisis on security with Russia and the refugee problem
underline a need to create a more substantial and powerful center to
lead the Foreign and Defense Policy as well as Intelligence activities
to strengthen the role of the EU in world politics. There would, I
think, be constructive impact on the extremely important transatlantic
relationship we have with the US and Canada.

Foreign Policy and Defense cannot be limited only with the members
of the Eurozone. The role of the Defence Alliance Nato in this context
is interesting. However, in Finland, among the electorate, lives quite
strongly a belief that Finland would live in a security position without a
military alliance.

I have researched the phenomena quite a lot. In trying
to find out a solution, the best way seems to me to get Finland to join
the Nato. While 22 of the 28 members of the EU are members of Nato,
it would be a wasting of resources to try to build up a separate European
army. While the official decision in Finland to seek the membership of
Nato seems to be very difficult now, new approaches are needed on the
basis of Nato.

A western military network on the bilateral basis is, of course,
welcome to Finland. But, to have more integrative impact, long term
readiness, predictability and direct cover of the famous 5th article, I see
Nato membership of utmost importance for Finland and the whole of
the EU.

I am of the opinion that only the full membership of Finland (and
Sweden) in Nato would stabilize the Baltic Sea area and Europe in
general. A prerequisite to that is that Russia starts to abandon ideas
to become anew the military master of this area. The tries to make a
reverse development are not acceptable.

Finland has to move westward totally out from a Russian daydream
of a zone of interest to control Finland as during the 19th century and
during 1944-1991. Russia of today does not respect any treaties. Only
power means now, while tactically Russia can make quickly any kind of
moves, from détente to open military actions.

This reflection and attitude does not mean any isolation for Russia
but a balance of powers and of constructive interactions. Thus, an active
military development in Europe is needed, also in order to secure the
American assistance. That is the way worth doing to avoid possible
open large war between East and West.
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Jukka Seppinen

It is obvious that Russia is making a “resovietization” of her
Foreign Policy and planning of Baltic Sea area to become again a “Mare
Sovieticum”. There is from the phenomena of so called “Finlandization”
quite a lot material in Kremlin how to act with Finland.

From the point of view of her military Defense, Finland has a
relatively strong army, with a large reserve. This is not alone enough
to dissuade Russia from an expansive outlook. More is needed, but
the goal should anyhow be a normal mutually beneficial relationship
with the countries around the Baltic Sea and in Europe and with the
USA. As long as there is a grey zone in the North within the European
Union, Russia will not stop of seeking advantages with all methods at
her disposal.

To encourage Finland (and Sweden) to seek the membership of
Nato, difficult would be the time lap before the Nato membership has
its full impact. There is a political work to be done among the electorate
in Finland to convince of the vitality to join the club of Nato as well
as looking for a new and normal cooperation with Russia. Sure I have
ideas for that but to be used elsewhere.

So, my view of a blueprint to meet future challenges for Europe
would now be focused on these three points:

1. Finding ways to meet a common satisfactory result for the need of
the Defence of Europe in a large meaning,
2. strengthening the common Foreign Policy and Diplomatic
administration as well as developing a common Intelligence
Service and
3. creating a common Federal Budget with necessary structure.

There are several fields to be developed. While I see this paper of
my views to be limited on big lines, I’ll avoid going in details. I hope
to have other possibilities in the future to continue my reflection in the
context of the Union and the future of European continent.

Dr Jukka Seppinen, member of the Jean Monnet Community”

 

 

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