Flexible Union or superstate: what will decide the first summit of the EU after Brexit


On Tuesday, June 28, Brussels will host a meeting of the European Council, a two — day summit of heads of state and government of the EU. The main theme of the event will be the UK out of the EU. The issue of Brexit on the evening of the first day will be devoted to a special press conference of the head of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the Prime Minister presiding in the EU of the Netherlands Mark Rutte.

To give Cameron time

Even on Friday morning when the final results of the British referendum only become known, Tusk, the first of the world leaders commented on the decision of the British to leave the European Union. “We are properly prepared for a similar scenario — said the politician. I would also like to assure you that we will continue to be uniform, even among the 27 countries [instead 28]. I assure that after the withdrawal of great Britain is not formed there is no legal vacuum.”

The legal consequences of Brexit are still a matter of dispute at least because such precedents yet was not. Officially the procedure out of the country must begin with the appropriate treatment head of the Executive power of the state to the Council of Europe. But British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the process of going out to run will not, and will leave it to his successor. This postpones the start of the procedure — even in the day of the referendum, Cameron said that he will remain in office until Oct. In response, the EU urged London immediately to start the procedure. “On the way out so on the way out,” threatened Jean-Claude Juncker, the British the day before the referendum, adding that return to the discussion of “best terms” save the country in the EU in case of victory of the eurosceptics will not.

On the eve of the summit of the European Council Brussels softened its position. As told EUobserver asked about anonymity, a European diplomat, EU leaders still do not require Cameron’s immediate start of the withdrawal procedure. “In the interests of all participants of the summit is to obtain a clear and predictable plan of action,” — said the source publication. But now, according to him, Britain is sinking deeper into political crisis and, therefore, in uncertainty.

As a result, according to the source EUobserver that the decision to give Cameron more time to prepare, it was agreed Sunday at a meeting of representatives of the remaining 27 EU countries, at the insistence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel — after sharp statements of the French Minister. On Tuesday, the Brexit issue will be raised at the two meetings: first with the participation of Cameron (where he will represent London’s position, then without him — then the leaders will discuss the General approach of the 27 remaining countries to negotiate with the British.

Integration or flexibility

For a few days between the referendum and the summit of the European Council, European politicians have suggested different ways of resolving the situation in the first place this concerned the reforms within the EU.

Already on Friday evening, according to the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the foreign Ministers of Germany and France prepared a proposal about the transformation of the EU into a “more flexible Union, whose members will have the right to independently determine the degree of their integration in the EU. On Saturday the plan was discussed in Berlin at an emergency Congress of the foreign Ministers of the founding States of the EU (Germany, Italy, France and the Benelux countries). The parties approved the document, and the French foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault even called for the resignation of Cameron, so as not to delay the procedure for the withdrawal of Britain from the EU.

Offers Paris and Berlin reform Union published the Polish TV channel TVP. Polish media have criticized the German-French project as an attempt to create a “super-state” under the control of Germany and France and even found in the proposal EU members to abandon their own armies. In fact, a document published by the TVP, this is not directly said but proposals to make the Union “more flexible” either. In particular, warning about the challenges faced by the EU, the Ministers propose to create a single security policy and to coordinate military budgets; to create a comprehensive platform for the cooperation of intelligence services of member countries; finally, to convey the decision of the migration issues to the EU level; to overcome the Eurozone crisis by further financial integration. In this case, however, the Ministers recognize that in different EU countries there are “different degrees of desire for European integration and this factor should always be considered, having regard to the opinion of the member States.

The following output

In criticism of the proposals of Berlin and Paris Poland is not unusual. In the spring of last year, all key positions in the country went the representatives of the conservative and eurosceptic party “Law and justice” the former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The new government reform of the constitutional court provoked sharp criticism from Brussels as anti-democratic, and in the near future against Warsaw can be sanctioned.

The population of Germany and France, who call themselves responsible for the fate of the EU are also subject to the euroskeptic sentiment. According to the latest polls from June 25, for right conservatives of the “Alternative for Germany” is ready to vote 12% of Germans. The leader of the French nationalists marine Le Pen — the second most popular politician in the country with a potential 28% support. On Friday, Le Pen called for France’s referendum, similar to the British.

Among the States of Old Europe, skepticism towards the EU structures expressed by the Dutch — this is evidenced by the results of the April referendum on the signing of the agreement on Association of Ukraine with the EU. 61% of citizens of the Netherlands refused to support the act. According to Dutch experts, the vote was a protest that shows a high mobilization potential of eurosceptics and nationalists.

Russia on the sidelines

Russia has not formally present in the agenda of the summit of EU leaders, however, at least two question will somehow relate to the actions of Moscow. First is the question of the extension of sanctions against Russia. Now Europe imposed restrictions are divided into three main types: individual sanctions, restrictions on economic cooperation with “occupied” the Crimea and the so-called sectoral sanctions.

Targeted individual sanctions extended until September 2016, the sanctions against the Crimea — until June 2017. The effect of the most painful sectoral sanctions expires on July 31. In fact, the permanent representatives of 28 countries of the Union, while the EU extended them for six months last week, however, the Italian leadership required to wait for formal approval of the leaders at the summit of the European Council.

But an unexpected result of the British referendum has eclipsed the entire agenda: the question of anti-Russian sanctions it is now not even listed as a separate item. Sberbank CIB analysts had earlier suggested that Brexit could make a rift in European unity on the issue of sanctions: it is London’s most rigidly defended the policy limits.

Another associated with Russia, the question, which I will discuss in Brussels on Tuesday, is preparing for the summit of NATO which will pass in Warsaw in the end of next week. In the middle of June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg criticized the sudden check in the Russian army, although he continued to insist on the necessity of delay — Russia Council NATO.