The EU’s “self-scorched earth” foreign policy

Blogs

The repercussions of the European Union support for the far-right coup d’état in Kiev have spread far and wide, reaching the very roots of the EU – its farmers.

By blindly following the United States in its mission to bring the machinery of war to Russia’s borders – one could say that even the ghost of Ronald Reagan has showed up in the European External Action Service – millions of EU farmers will be forced to destroy their production to appease the gods of imperialism.

From tons of milk being thrown into sewers in Finland to truckloads of vegetables from Andalusia being dumped on road sides, EU farmers could lose billions of euros following Russia’s decision to place an embargo on agricultural products from the European Union in response to US-EU economic sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The EU’s current foreign policy approach is imposing bankruptcy on small-to-medium sized EU farmers, revealing the unsustainable nature of our growth model which impoverishes small-business owners and workers, and even devours the very heart of austerity and anti-deflation principles.

EU agricultural exports to Russia were worth approximately €5.3 billion last year – comprising 10 per cent of all EU agricultural exports.

As a result, the Russian ban on EU agricultural imports has led to overproduction and significant price drops.

For instance, soon after the sanctions, the price of Dutch cucumbers and tomatoes fell by 80 per cent. In addition, despite the sacrifices made by EU citizens and the European Central Bank’s efforts against deflation, EU policy makers are still pushing for more austerity.

But this drop in prices could have an EU-wide domino effect. Inflation in the Eurozone is already in the “risk zone” (0.4 per cent) a figure which remains below the ECB reference threshold of 2 per cent.

To counter the negative effects of the Russian ban, the European Union announced plans to raise €125 million in financial assistance for EU farmers.

However, earlier this month this decision was reversed due to the overwhelming number of requests for assistance.

A new plan is expected soon but this U-turn demonstrates the lack of foresight of European authorities due to their blind obedience of US orders.

Furthermore, as Russia has replaced its EU agricultural imports with products from the Far East, Latin America, Egypt and Turkey, European officials have deployed a “beg the neighbourhood” policy, asking these governments to refuse multi-million euro trade offers from Russia and to stick with EU-US sanctions instead.

However, the EU’s appeal has been roundly rejected , as demonstrated by President Rafael Correa of Ecuador who said: “As far as I know, Latin America is not a part of the European Union”.

The Russian sanctions will continue to worsen the European economic crisis. Unfortunately, by following the US doctrine of war and confrontation, Europe is avoiding one of the only ways out of the crisis: peaceful and responsible relations with Russia and its neighbours.