Los sucesos de Irak y Siria y la desalmada agresión israelí contra Gaza han desplazado a Ucrania a un segundo plano entre las noticias de los medios occidentales, aunque la crisis humanitaria en el este ha adquirido dimensiones descomunales  El gobierno de Kiev asegura haber hecho importantes avances contra los insurgentes ucranianos de habla rusa y ahora reconoce abiertamente que ha incorporado a sus filas a grupos nazis ucranianos y de otros países europeos, pero contraofensivas rebeldes demuestran que el frente de batalla es fluido y Poroshenko, quizá para inducir a Estados Unidos y a la OTAN para acudir en su auxilio, ha acusado a Rusia de invasión.  Rusia ha mantenido un perfil militar bajo del lado de su frontera al tiempo que  ha dado una inusual difusión a sus ejercicios militares en otras áreas y a la modernización de sus fuerzas armadas, pero es evidente que sin su apoyo material, de inteligencia y mando, los rebeldes no hubieran resistido tanto tiempo. El problema del gas no está resuelto y en septiembre se reunirán representantes de Naftogas, Gazprom y la Unión Europa para reanudar las negociaciones suspendidas hace varios meses por la insistencia de la parte ucraniana a ligar el pago de la deuda a un descuento que la parte rusa sostiene que ha caducado. Al parecer Ucrania no tiene reservas suficientes de gas para hacer frente a la demanda durante el invierno y los enormes gastos ocasionados por la guerra  no le dejan mucho margen de maniobra. Kiev está buscando afanosamente nuevas fuentes de recursos, pero éstas no se dejan ver fácilmente.  En el artículo que se reproduce a continuación, Mark  Adomanis, de Forbes, disipa las esperanzas que Ucrania puede haber depositado en la Unión Europea para rescatarla de su predicamento económico y financiero.

 

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By Mark Adomanis,

Forbes, 25 August 2014

The European Union has had a pretty rough run over the past seven years. Economically, things are simply catastrophic. The Eurozone is not only experiencing an output slump that is even worse than the great depression, it is also teetering dangerously close to outright deflationUnemployment remains persistently high everywhere except Germany: it is still above 25% in both Greece and Spain, and above 10% in Portugal, Italy, and France. The forecasts are hardly encouraging, with expectations of little or no growth in 2014 and an exceedingly modest rebound predicted for 2015. The situation is so desperate and hopeless that respected economists like Tyler Cowen have started to comparethe performance of the more sclerotic European economies with the de-industrialization of 19th century India.

Politically, things aren’t a whole lot better. The most recent elections to the European Parliament in late May saw Euroskeptics and radicals of various stripes storm to unprecedented victories. Even The Economist, which has been relentless in its promotion of the EU, sounded the alarm, admitting that the previous “bastion of European federalism” was set to become a “beachhead for all sorts of anti-Europeans.” There’s also the small matter that Viktor Orban, Hungary’s president, has all but declared war on “liberal democracy.” This is just a little bit awkward because Hungary is a member of an organization explicitly founded on liberal democratic concepts. The EU is now in the unprecedented position of needing to confront an avowedly “illiberal” regime within its own ranks.

As I hope the above makes clear, the EU is barely holding itself together. Even in a relatively optimistic scenario, it will have experienced a “lost decade” of economic growth, and tens of millions of Europeans will have had their professional lives deeply and negatively impacted by the European elite’s inability to effectively respond to the crisis. Political radicalism has already been strengthened to a frightening degree, and its anyone’s guess where the process will lead. In such a situation the EU is pretty obviously not in a position to bail anyone else out. Economically the EU doesn’t have the money and, politically, there is no will for further “expansion.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who is well known for his extensive use of social media and for his support of Ukraine’s integration into European institutions, hasn’t gotten the message though. The other day he tweeted the following:

Important that Germany Chancellor Merkel now raises the issue of EU help in rebuilding of Donbass region. Will be needed. And expensive.

To the extent that Bildt convinces anyone in Ukraine that the EU will ride to the rescue he is being cruel. There is no other word for it. The EU is not going t help rebuild the Donbass. Full stop. Even if the EU (read: Germany) had sufficient funds at its disposal for this sort of effort, which is increasingly doubtful, the recent election made clear that popular enthusiasm for the EU project is evaporating almost in real time. There is precious little enthusiasm among the German public for bailout of other Eurozone members. The idea that Germany will consent to spending tens of billions of dollars rebuilding Eastern Ukraine is completely and totally divorced from political reality. Can anyone seriously imagine Angela Merkel, whose country recently had its 2014 growth estimate downgraded to a mere 1.5%, going in front of the German public to demand a substantial outlay for Ukrainian infrastructure? It would be political suicide, and Merkel is clearly a clever enough politician to understand this.

Ukraine and its political leadership needs to understand that, regardless of Bildt’s musings, the country’s “European choice” is not going to be underwritten by anyone else. Basic political reality in Germany and the EU, particularly the rapid growth of Euroskepticism, means that no help will be forthcoming. Kiev will have to chart its own course, and will need to find a way to pay for the (enormous!) expenditures of repairing its Eastern industrial heartland.

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