The Russian and Western media headlines have glaringly shown the future of Britain-Russia’s bilateral relationship and how that will further work in multilateral format in the context of the current global changes as Ms. Liz Truss becomes Britain’s new Prime Minister. Of course, this does not need a simplified or much detailed explanation, as both have locked horns over many publicly-known issues within the context of geopolitical changes.
Media articles’ headlines, “Kremlin scathing over Truss but Kyiv praises Britain’s new PM” (The Guardian) and “Russia says relations with Britain could get worse as Truss elected PM” (The Independent) painted groomy pictures about the future relations between the two countries. And of course, Britain and Russia have been struggling to raise up their bilateral relations during these past several years with little success.
Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss is not new to to Britain and Russia’s politics and diplomacy, and the geopolitical changes. She previously served as the British Foreign Secretary. Now, she has won the race for the leadership of the ruling Conservative Party, as indications from the results of an internal party vote, declared on Sept 5.
Truss, 47, received the votes of 81,326 rank-and-file Conservatives. Her rival, former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, 42 got 60,399 votes. As the leader of the ruling party, Truss replaces Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and has to appoint a new Cabinet. Truss becomes Britain’s 56th Prime Minister, and formal confirmed as head of Her Majesty’s Government at an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.
Ms. Liz Truss’ perspectives on many important issues are completely at variance with the position often taken by the Russian Federation. In July 2022, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized in an official statement against her anti-Russia remarks which are invariably steeped in painful aggression and nationalism, that is, Russophobia. Within the political spectrum, she is considered as a threat towards the country and its leadership, and especially the current “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“She looks like a second-rate politician afflicted by megalomania. And she is doing all of this instead of addressing the issues at home, which are plenty. This collection of empty slogans vocalised by a raging Truss clearly shows that, in fact, she is either unable to spot the serious crisis in the economy and in domestic politics in a country whose government she is striving to lead, or she simply does not know how to overcome it and is trying to distract voters. Clearly, the well-being and living standards of ordinary Brits are not among her priorities,” Zakharova described her in comments posted to the official website on 14th July.
While there are thousands od evidences pointing to the worsening bilateral relations in political, economic and cultural spheres between the two countries, Russia usually slams Britain together with the European Union into the same category. Similar to the previous well-known Cold War, Russia is battling multiple confrontations from the United States and European Union.
Russia, most often, view Britain from its historical perspectives and the colonial past, and directly connects with the present time. Russia authorities have convincingly and publicly highlighted the British colonial practices that spanned for more than half a century. Perhaps, taking a line from Russia’s MFA sources, Russia views these two geopolitical blocs as “aggressive and warlike nature and obvious narrow-mindedness” and to deepen our understanding of the situation.
As Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out during the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, “The external circumstances have not changed radically, not becoming more elevated unfortunately with each passing day. The choice we have taken is made easier by the fact that the ‘collective West’ has declared a total hybrid war against us. It is hard to forecast how long this will last. But it is clear that its consequences will be felt by everyone without exception throughout the world.”
Lavrov further explained that this is not only and not so much about Ukraine, having decided the way to global hegemony, which is being used as an instrument to contain the peaceful development of the Russian Federation in the context of their course to perpetuate a unipolar world order, right after the end of the Cold War. Russia’s diplomacy is, on the one hand, to act with great resolve to fend off all adversarial attacks, while, on the other hand, to consistently, calmly and patiently reinforce positions in order to facilitate Russia’s sustained development from within and improve the quality of life for its people.
Britain’s diplomacy has posed problems, in the political, economic and cultural spheres for the Russian Federation. In the cultural sphere for instance, Russia was forced to close the British Council. Until now, educational and consular services are still not resolved, so are many important issues in the political and economic bilateral cooperation. At one time, the fatal 2006 poisoning of former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London. And the next one, London also used the incident in Salisbury linked with the suspected poisoning of former GRU employee Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia as a provocation against Russia.
Britain has joined the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and many other countries in imposing draconian sanctions on Russia. In addition to that, Britian as a member of the Group of Seven, acts in complete coalition with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States on a number of issues against the Russian Federation. The Group of Seven is composed of the seven wealthiest advanced countries.
After the historic fall of the Soviet era, Russia dreamed of raising their status by joining international organizations. Over the past three decades, Russia became a member of many global bodies, participating actively at the United Nations. But with the Group of Eight (G-8), due to sharp differences among members and the last straw relates to its undertaking of “a special military operation” in Ukraine, Russia ultimately withdrew it membership.
David Harding, British journalist and author, early September wrote that Russia’s relations with Britain would get worse under new prime minister Liz Truss. He referred to issues that includes a growing energy price crisis and the war in Ukraine, both of which are affected by Britain’s relations with Russia. The article was based on Kremlin’s warning shots across the new government by claiming that the low level in the current relations between Moscow and London could get even worse than they are now.
“I wouldn’t like to say that things can change for the worse, because it’s hard to imagine anything worse,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked if Moscow expected any shift in relations with Britain. “But unfortunately, this cannot be ruled out, given that the contenders for the post of British prime minister competed with each other in anti-Russian rhetoric, in threats to take further steps against our country, and so on. Therefore, I don’t think that we can hope for anything positive.”
Truss is chiefly known in Russia for a visit she made to Moscow in February, when she and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a rancorous meeting. Lavrov described their conversation as like a dialogue between deaf and mute people, complaining that facts had ‘bounced off’ her. Russia’s foreign ministry has also openly mocked her over geographical gaffes, including on one occasion when she mixed up the Black and Baltic seas.
Truss openly challenged Lavrov at their meeting over Russia’s troop build-up near Ukraine, saying: “I can’t see any reason for having 100,000 troops stationed on the border, apart from to threaten Ukraine.” Moscow, which had denied invasion plans, sent its troops in two weeks later. Since then, Britain has been one of the most active and vocal supporters of Ukraine in the war, supplying it with weapons and training.
While there have been several congratulatory messages for Liz Truss, none came from the Russia’s official domain. Dutch PM Mark Rutte said on Twitter: “The Netherlands has long enjoyed close ties with the UK, and I look forward to working with Ms Truss to strengthen them even further.”
In addition, Austrian media compared her to Margaret Thatcher but one French newspaper, Les Echos, called her an Iron Weathercock, rather than Iron Lady, for constantly changing political position. Further, German chancellor Olaf Scholz also took to social media to proclaim: “The UK and Germany will continue to work closely together – as partners and friends.”
Russian media, however, published many reports about political developments and have speculated about the directions in future relations. Russia’s wide-circulated Izvestia wrote that British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has become the new prime minister. As a successor and loyal supporter of former leader Boris Johnson, Truss would lead the ruling Conservative Party, at least, till the 2024 parliamentary election. “Notorious for her harsh rhetoric on Russia, Truss used it proactively in her election campaign. And yet foreign policy is secondary for the British, with a solution to the energy crisis and the fight against falling living standards being their top priorities,” wrote the newspaper.
The British PM favors active support for Kiev and believes the goal for London is to have Russia defeated in Ukraine. With that in mind, Truss could be viewed as a direct successor of Boris Johnson’s policies. The outgoing premier, perhaps, involved in the Ukrainian conflict more than any other Western leader. Boris Johnson visited Kiev, Ukrainean capital, three times since Russia launched its special military operation, and he was accused of overlooking domestic issues due to his preoccupation with foreign policy.
The key tasks faced by the new prime minister certainly relate to the economy and the wellbeing of ordinary citizens. “The United Kingdom is faring much worse economically than the other West European countries,” Vasily Yegorov, an expert on British politics and the author of the Westminster channel on Telegram, told Izvestia. According to forecasts, Great Britain could face 18-22% inflation rates. If the government copes with that issue this fall, it would be easier further down the road. Truss should come up with her economic program in the near future.
Britain and Russia established relations several years ago. Even with the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall much of the relationship has been under constant strain. During these past few years, the relationship has been tense due to European Union sanctions against Russia. The British being viewed as a driving force for those sanctions, making the relationship awkward. In conclusing, Britain and Russia will still be rocky in the coming years and even more turbulent over many bilateral and global policy issues under Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister of Britain.
With no end in sight to the fighting in Ukraine, the European Union has become financially exhausted with the drawn-out conflict on its doorstep. This is while the United States, sitting across the pond, watching on and observing, is making huge profits. As the war drags on, the costs for Europe are mounting.
One thing is for sure. It is certainly not the first time Washington has tricked the international community into a war. Who can forget a certain Colin Powell sent by Washington, packed with a briefcase of fake intelligence, to the UN Security Council to make the case for the Iraq war.
At the time, France and Germany formed a coalition, making strong arguments and objections to prevent the Iraq war.
This time, critics argue, they caved in to quickly, along with the EU, and are acting as U.S. proxies without even being aware of it.
Before the conflict broke out on Europe’s doorstep in February, Russia regularly accused the U.S. of deliberately creating a scenario that was designed to lure Moscow into war while ignoring Russia’s security concerns over Ukraine.
The Pentagon led the mobilization of NATO troops and weapons on Russian borders and Europe quietly followed suit. The security concerns expressed by the Kremlin were ignored by Washington despite many experts describing them as legitimate.
Moscow wanted the West to respect an agreement signed in 1999 that no country can threaten its security at the expense of others. The Kremlin said this was at the heart of the crisis before the conflict broke out.
The question that must be posed after eight months is this: why not sending peace delegations to Russia and Ukraine instead of arms packages? The answer is the American economy crashed in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic and now it is growing again as a result of the war. America has a long history of making money out of waging or triggering wars across the planet.
Those paying the price on this occasion are European states with the continent slipping into a recession and ordinary households failing to make ends meet.
According to the Politico, the EU has set aside fund to reimburse member states with the money they spend on sending weapons to Ukraine. However, the EU has been flooded with requests that the bloc simply cannot cover. Brussels has reportedly not even sent out the first payment.
The news outlet cites diplomats as saying the EU had estimated it could cover some 85% of the costs but so many requests were sent to the bloc’s headquarters that it revised that number down to 46%.
That is said to have angered Poland, which is one of the EU’s largest arms exporters to Ukraine and a leading seeker for reimbursements. The diminishing payback scheme and struggling attempts to reimburse risks damaging the EU’s reputation.
The argument coming out of Brussels is that at times like these, unlike the Iraq war, the Western allies must stick together with the United States.
What allies is Brussels exactly referring to? Europeans are struggling to heat their homes this winter because of the Ukraine war. France and Germany’s request for U.S. gas supplies to alleviate the crisis in “ally” states were met with “astronomical” prices by Washington.
There is no doubt the U.S. is making astronomical gas sale profits from the Ukraine war. The U.S. oil giant Chevron, also a large global natural gas producer, is expected to make record exports to Europe.
“We have seen a big uptick in demand from European customers so we are adjusting to that,” said Colin Parfitt, who oversees the company’s shipping, pipeline, supply and trading operations. Europe will not “go back to the same flows from Russia as it did before,” he said
So the U.S. achieved its long term desire to replace Russian gas flows to Europe with its own stocks of liquefied natural gas (LNG). For years Washington has been demanding Europe to wean itself off Russian gas and the Ukraine war has met that demand, even slapping sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany. At the time, Berlin strongly censured the move.
American energy companies are now reaping in the profits. “What’s growing in the United States is demand for exports,” Parfitt said.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. became the top LNG exporter in the first half of 2022, because of increased supplies to Europe amid the Ukraine crisis. Exports rose to average 11.2 billion cubic feet per day compared with the second half of 2021.
The fact is Europe has no choice but to purchase American energy as Washington has imposed sanctions on certain other major gas-producing countries. But why is the U.S. selling at “astronomical” prices to its “allies”. The answer is American politicians, energy giants and arms manufacturers don’t really care about Europe.
Senior officials in France and Germany have even accused the U.S. of overcharging for its LNG and using the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis to make profit and make Europe dependent on U.S. gas.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mair recently noted the U.S. should not be allowed to dominate the global energy market as its “allies” in Europe are suffering from the consequences of the Ukraine conflict. He also said it is unacceptable for the U.S. to sell LNG at prices “four times” higher than those paid by companies in America. The French minister also called for the establishment of a more balanced relationship between the U.S. and Europe.
The German Economy Minister Robert Habeck decried American LNG companies of charging too much for gas at a time when Europe’s biggest economy is struggling to balance its energy mix without Russian supplies.
He also recalled how the U.S. has turned to the EU before when crude oil costs were skyrocketing, and that Europe’s national reserves were used at the time to push the prices back down.
At a time that the EU is in crisis, with friends like the U.S. who needs enemies?
Of course, American arms manufacturers are also making gigantic profits. They are shipping weapons to the warzone in eastern Europe.
In the lead up to the war, President Putin said Russia needs to defend itself from an aggressive and hostile America. Washington is not primarily concerned with Ukraine’s security, but with containing Russia, Putin said.
“In this sense, Ukraine itself is just an instrument to achieve this goal, this can be done in different ways, by drawing us into some kind of armed conflict and, with the help of their allies in Europe, forcing the introduction against us of those harsh sanctions they are talking about now in the U.S.” he said at the time.
The consequences of the conflict have been felt by Europeans who have been staging mass protests, strikes and voting governments out of power across the continent. While the war has triggered soaring costs that the European public simply cannot afford, it has also frustrated hopes of any normalization in Europe following the covid-19 pandemic as well as European unity.
Studies show there is growing polarization in Europe as to whether supporting the U.S. into triggering the Ukraine crisis was worth it after all?
It is a great privilege to be amongst distinguished thinkers and architects of the future we all co-create. Admitting worries for common good since contemporary world tensions and energetic crisis are colliding with humanitarian questions, we reflect assurance, decision. Hope.
That atmosphere is profoundly radiant in the great 15-century priory of green entourage and reflections of river Rhone one must admire. Scholars, thinkers, and diplomats gather in this prestigious surrounding. The Swiss University of Geneve is today designated as a profound establishment of dialogue, research, and political culture, inviting diversity and inclusion. University upholds privilege of exceptional keynote speakers of different backgrounds. Among them are former presidents, prime ministers, thinkers, Nobel prize laureates and other personalities with distinguished careers and experience.
Adding to his series, in early October 2022, prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic conducted and moderated two distinguished days of fresh insights, noble ideas, and stamina by believing in the power of dialogue. Excellency Heinz Fisher, former Austrian State President, was the first guest. H.E. Fisher presented the narrative of WWII, primarily portraying his younger days at school:
“In my childhood, in primary school, we had to greet our teacher with “Heil Hitler” every morning. Can you imagine the climate of that era in most delicate youth?”, he stated.
President Heinz Fischer was born on 9 October 1938 in Graz, Styria, Austria. This young boy was brough up in detrimental Nazi dictatorship, while his parents, father as a civil servant, Esperanto teacher, opposer of contemporary political predominance, discussed the perils and horrendous consequences of sadistic Nazi regime only in Esperanto, what gave us just a blink of precepting the devastating times of that era. Why Esperanto?
“The totalitarian regimes are all blind for what is alive and spontaneous. A child is open. His testimony though innocence and truthfulness could send someone to working camps. It was dangerous to say anything against and Esperanto was revealing. And safe”.
On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria to annex the German-speaking nation for the Third Reich. In early 1938, Austrian Nazis conspired for the second time in four years, to seize the Austrian government by force and unite their nation with Nazi Germany.
“This era was a time of darkness, spiritual suffering, and loss of common sense in the nation’s aspirations and hope. Inner light was dimmed. This great suffering was dormant in the previous phases after the collapse of Austro-Hungarian Empire and afterwards”.
H.E. Fisher argued the importance of historical and longitudinal line of data. Deepen knowledge of world events rebuilds and reshapes basic and grounding facts and angles the foundations from where one can estimate occurring consequences. E.g., creating stable national identity, retrenching all negative aspects of nationalisms, seems to be impossible without nascent phases of democratic development:
“Each phase of the process takes its own time. Without historic perspective and broader context, one cannot ever understand the present tendencies”.
Excellency Fisher spoke about major historic events, like 1st republic of Austria, which is essential to understand succeeding historical acts. After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy on 30th October 1918, the provisional national assembly of German Austria elected a State Council (Staatsrat) executive, which itself appointed a state government with the Social Democratic politician Karl Renner as head of the State Chancellery with three main political parties—Social Democrats, the Christian Social Party (CS) and German Nationalists (Greater Germans). As acting executive body, it remained in office until the Constitutional Assembly of the Austrian Fist Republic on 15th March 1919.
From 5th March 1933 onwards, the Christian Social chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß continued to rule by suppressing the National Council parliament.
“In the course of the Austrian Civil War on 1st May 1934, the authoritarian Federal State of Austria was implemented. All political parties were banned, except for the Fatherland’s Front supporting Dollfuß’ Austrofascist government”.
As well Second Republic added the missing jigsaw and corelated some major events and historic figures, naming just few. Second Republic, where on 27th April 1945, a provisional Austrian national unity government was formed, with important datum 20th December 1945, when Austrian Constitution was officially re-enacted with ÖVP founder Leopold Figl, forming the first post-war Federal Government. Interesting is “The Victim Theory” (German: Opferthese), encapsulated in the slogan “Austria – the Nazis’ first victim”, which was the ideological basis for Austria under allied occupation (1945–1955) and in the Second Austrian Republic until the 1980s. According to the founders of the Second Austrian Republic, the 1938 Anschluss was an act of military aggression by the Third Reich. The “victim theory” formed in 1949 insisted that all the Austrians, including those who strongly supported Hitler, had been unwilling victims of the Nazi regime and were therefore not responsible for its crimes.
Austria, the “land that nobody wanted”, along the many years, aside pitfalls and victories in discourse and coordinated action, gained its neutral status in tangled historic context.
Austria is bound to neutrality by the 1955 Austrian State Treaty and its constitution, which prohibits entry into military alliances and the establishment of foreign military bases on Austrian territory. Austrian neutrality is an enforced neutrality.
“The territory of Austria was occupied by allied forces until 1955. In 1955 the Soviet Union, in the Moscow memorandum, demanded Austria’s neutrality on the model of Switzerland”.
All the countries with which Austria had diplomatic relations, ratified the Austrian State Treaty.
Today, in reinforcing the culture of dialogue, Austria is a special country with strong culture, music, literature, and profound history. Latest interest is also a great devotion of our guest.
President Fisher, lawyer and professor always admired history and his narrative is profound. Lectures gathered us in conscious awareness how to tackle subtle and deeply sensitive diplomatic questions, while reality is often yielding no traces of support, neither hint of solutions. What matters is integrity and character. And personal, private acolytes we meet on the paths, like colleagues, siblings, parents, and spouses, are indispensable. H.E. wife, First Lady Ms. Margit Fisher was gracing audience with her presence and kindness as well.
H.E. Fisher served his country for many years. He took office as 11th State President of the Republic of Austria on 8th July 2004 and was re-elected for a second and last term on 25th April 2010, leaving office on 8th July 2016.
Excellency Heinz Fischer studied law at the University of Vienna, earning a doctorate in 1961. Apart from being a politician, Fischer also pursued an academic career and became a professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck. After two terms as Federal President of the Republic of Austria and more than 40 years in public office, Heinz Fischer retired in July 2016 as Head of State and was succeeded by Prof. Alexander Van der Bellen.
Today H.E. Fisher is active in many boards and collaborates with vanguard crucial figures. As he already did in his early career days: “I am proud being a co-founder of Amnesty International Austria, and Editor of many magazines for Political Sciences”.
In January 2017 Heinz Fischer was named president to the Board of the Institute for Human Science and in August 2017 was appointed as co-chairman of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.
Excellency Fischer wrote several books in the field of political science and contemporary history. He was among the first speakers under the auspices of so-called ‘Executive Master in Intl. Relations and Global Politics’. Lecture series will host current and former heads of states or government Nobel prize laureates, and other influencers in the world of politics, economy, security and energy.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union address in mid-September made it clear how far the political course of the European elites has meanwhile distanced itself from the concerns and needs of the societies in the member states. For many critical observers in the European Union, the question is no longer whether – but when – a split of the EU is to be expected.There is much to criticise about the speech of the Commission President. One can take offence at numerous, unreflective statements, at the propagandistic tone, at the inflammatory statements against Russia and much more.However, that is not the subject of this analysis. For this purpose, it is sufficient to take a closer look at a core sentence of Ursula von der Leyen’s speech, which reads: “And I want to make it very clear, the sanctions are here to stay”.This sentence is causing great concern to a rapidly growing number of citizens in the member states, but above all to the European economy and administration. On the one hand, because the sanctions themselves are more than controversial; on the other hand, because the European leadership’s unwillingness to compromise on the sanctions is increasingly being interpreted as an act of aggression against the member states.
Approval of sanctions declines
Inflation in the member states continues its upward course. According to Eurostat, the European statistics office, the inflation rate in the euro area rose to 9.1 % in August. Since the introduction of the euro, the cost of living has never risen as much as it did last month. The highest inflation rates are to be found in the Baltic States (between 21 and 25 %); the lowest inflation rate is in France with 6.6 %. Germany is in the middle of the euro area with 8.8 %. The strongest driver of inflation is energy, which has increased in price by almost 40 % (!) in the last 12 months alone. The upcoming winter months and ongoing warnings of blackouts and bottlenecks in energy supply are fuelling discontent in Europe’s societies: demonstrations are taking place in numerous states, such as in Prague at the beginning of September. Even though the mainstream media is only marginally addressing this issue, protests are expected to increase in the coming weeks.
With growing concerns about exploding living costs, opposition to the sanctions is also growing. A survey by the German opinion research institute Forsa in September revealed that already 55% of the Germans questioned are no longer prepared to accept further financial burdens so that the sanctions against Russia can be maintained. The picture is similar in Austria: a recent survey by the Institute for Public Opinion Research and Data Analysis shows that 78% of respondents think that they themselves suffer from the sanctions, and only just under half are in favour of keeping the sanctions in place. Experts expect this sentiment to intensify in the coming weeks. Both in Germany and Austria, several leading politicians are already in favour of an end to the sanctions.
It is currently uncertain whether and to what extent the elections in Italy at the end of September and in Bulgaria at the beginning of October will have an impact on the European Union’s sanctions policy. Hungary had recently refrained at the last minute from blocking the extension of EU sanctions, after the country had previously blocked or forced changes to several sanctions against Russia.
Debt policy and migration crisis
Observers are very concerned about the economic development in the euro area. The already very high trade deficit of the Eurozone widened again in July compared to the previous month by 8.1 billion euros to 40.3 billion euros. This is by far the highest foreign trade deficit since the currency area was established in 1999. Besides the high prices for energy imports, the currency development of the euro plays an important role. Due to the weak euro  , energy imports invoiced in US dollars are tearing an ever larger hole in the balance of trade. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, public debt as a percentage of GDP was 95.6% in the euro area and 88.1% in the EU. Against the background of further, enormous spending by EU member states on economic and social aid, this situation will deteriorate further.
In addition, there are the burdens on the member states due to the support for Ukraine. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen put the financial contributions made so far – without military aid – at 19 billion euros. It can be assumed that due to state liabilities and guarantees, the burdens on the member states are actually much higher.
These figures do not include the expenses for all those Ukrainians who enjoy temporary protection in an EU country: that is about 1.4 million in Poland, 660,000 in Germany, about 431,000 in the Czech Republic, 154,000 in Italy, 142,000 in Spain, 134,000 in Bulgaria. For the sake of completeness and good order, it should also be mentioned here that, according to official UNHCR figures, the Russian Federation has taken in almost 2.6 million Ukrainians.
In addition, a renewed rush of migrants is burdening the EU member states: from January to August 2022, 115,402 initial applications for asylum were received in Germany, an increase of 35.4 % compared to the previous year. In Austria, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, there were already 56,000 in the same period. An analysis published by the European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) shows that in the first half of 2022, around 406,000 asylum applications were made in the EU countries (including Switzerland and Norway), which corresponds to an increase of 68 % compared to the same period in 2021. The fact that the societies of the member states are increasingly less willing to follow the migration policy of the European elites against the background of inflation and growing national debts is shown by the examples of Sweden and Denmark. It can be assumed that other states will follow suit here as well.
 Within just one year, the value of the euro fell from 1.2 US dollars to 0.99 US dollars.
Reopen channels of dialogue
The European Union is in the midst of a disruptive development, which is accelerated by the current sanctions policy of the European Union. For many critical observers, the question is no longer whether – but when – a split of the EU is to be expected. This division will have a political impact, for example through further withdrawals of member states or through growing opposition of member states to the EU’s course. This division will have an economic impact, especially when the EU is enlarged to include more member states  and has to finance the economic (re)construction of several (new) member states in addition to the huge damage caused by debt policy. This division will also have a social impact, through fractures in societies as a result of impoverishment and growing migratory pressures.The future of Europe is currently being put at risk by numerous actors. A key player is the EU itself, which is blindly pushing through its agenda against the wishes and needs of its own society and economy.It is therefore imperative to do everything possible to reactivate the channels of communication with Russia – on the one hand, through diplomatic channels and international organisations. On the other hand, however, and this seems to be at least as important, on the path of civil society. Constructive debate at various levels, such as education, culture, sport, as well as ongoing political discourse, are indispensable in order to jointly set the course for the future on this common continent, which the EU member states share with Russia.
 Currently, the following states have been granted the official status of “candidate countries” by the EU: Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.
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