February 19, 2014
An article was published today on the website of a respectable Romanian think tank – an article called For the first time in history, people die under the EU flag. And they are right. While people on the Euromaidan may not be there just in correlation with the EU and the rejection by Ukrainian administration of the Eastern Partnership deal, there is nonetheless a link with the EU. There are flags waved and there is a general feeling of support from the EU, be it politicians or regular people. And there are a lot of regular people within the EU who think their cause is just and right.
Back in the late 40’s and early 50’s, when Romania was becoming ever more enslaved under the red boot there was a general consensus in Romania that things will be saved – The Americans will come!. People believed it, and expected it – they expected the US to come and do something to help. It didn’t happen, for a wealth of reasons we know today. On Monday, while commuting, I read a report by the CIA, drafted in 1949 for President Truman, on the situation in Romania. It recognized within the general expectancy of the population. And nothing is different today – everybody in the EU central administration knows that the people of Ukraine expect the EU to do something. And I draw upon this the idea that for once help with democracy is not expected to come from thousands of miles away, but from right here, next door – the EU has become the beacon of democracy in Europe. And it is not some self proclaimed title any more – people have died under the flag. This is a reality.
Messages of support and press releases can only do so much. Action is needed. But what type of action? Ukraine is none the less an independent country. We can’t just walk in and do something. We can’t punish the leaders in question in Ukraine without also punishing the people. The beacon of democracy has its hands tied behind its back. The emergency meeting of Member states Foreign Affairs ministers called for tomorrow in Brussels is bound to be a tight one – veto is possible, because we as an Union still depend on MS’s to agree on a set of actions. We still allow local interests, be they justified or mere mushy political interest, to shape our actions. We have not yet managed to pacify our status as beacon of democracy and human rights with our internal politics. We still have bad politics here and there, there are still discriminating policies amongst us. We have the standard but we lack the means.
What we need to do is show our unity. What we need to do is show that we understand the great responsibility placed upon this construct. It is no longer just about us. It is no longer about our petty quarrels amongst ourselves. We now have a greater mission. It is without doubt a cornerstone of EU evolution.
There is blood on the flag. Will we wipe it clean with the back of our hand and just keep talking or will we pick up that bloodied flag and proudly act under its legacy? History will judge our resolve. And I want it to talk proudly of this moment.