Saturday, June 13, 2015

On Russia: A Response to Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Not a joking matter.
MEP Luke Flanagan voted against the recent resolution in the European Parliament censuring Russia for its violations of Human Rights, breaches of International Law, and destabilisation of its neighbours. In speaking against the motion, he cited the Nice Treaty re-run as an example of the EU's disregard for National Sovereignty, as he saw it. The EU has no right, in his view, to lecture anyone on sovereignty.

First of all, this was not a vote on sovereignty, save insofar as it had been denied the people of Eastern Ukraine. It was a vote of censure, an expression of sentiment in foreign relations. If Mr Flanagan is of a view that the EU has given up any entitlement it may have claimed to have a view on foreign government behaviour, then he is in effect denying it any strategic position at all. Furthermore, if he really believed in his position, he would have abstained; for in voting no he was effectively making a counter claim, and therefore expressing a judgement on Russia.

What he instead chose to do was to court publicity. Brussels is a long way from home for a Roscommon politician. It's hard to get noticed. Try telling that to the dead and the disappeared of Putin's Russia, to the bereaved thousands of families in Ukraine, to the threatened of the Baltics. Luke Flanagan has a position of extraordinary responsibility. It's time he grew up and did his job.

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