The Decline and Free Fall of the European Empire
August 15, 2014 • 10:00PM

The European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels Friday to discuss a response to Russia's food import ban, as well as aid for Iraq. In rather an understatement, Britain's Guardian quotes one EU representative stressing, "With regard to a new round of economic sanctions, I think it is a little bit too early at this stage." Meanwhile, as millions of tons of fruit once destined for Russia rot in orchards and in trucks, the EU agricultural experts met on Aug. 14 to discuss compensation to farmers, but gave no serious details beyond possible release of funds from the EU420 million emergency agricultural fund.

Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolo said that "as of early next week, I will come forward with the next market stabilization measure, targeting a number of perishable fruit and vegetable products which are now clearly in difficulty. This action will be proportionate and cost effective." He said producers "can be reassured" that "I will act." To farmers facing bankruptcy, this sounds like what Orwell might call "EU-speak."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Friday denounced sanctions: "The sanctions policy pursued by the West, that is, ourselves, a necessary consequence of which has been what the Russians are doing, causes more harm to us than to Russia. In politics, this is called shooting oneself in the foot." He also said the EU should not only compensate producers, be they Polish, Slovak, Hungarian or Greek, who now have to suffer losses, but also the entire sanctions policy should be reconsidered.

Speaking at a news conference, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico denounced the sanctions policy as well. "Why should we jeopardize the EU economy that is beginning to grow? If there is a crisis situation, it should be solved by other means than meaningless sanctions. Who profits from the EU economy decreasing, Russia's economy having troubles and Ukraine economically on its knees?"