Brussels receives world leaders in a few hours to agree on common action against Putin’s Russia
Brussels, the world capital of international summits, will have extra work this Thursday and Friday. The northwestern powers, with the addition of Japan, will tighten their ranks to show unity against Vladimir Putin’s Russia and his war of conquest against Ukraine. The Belgian capital hosts a European summit and a NATO summit in two days. Someone must have realized that inviting Japan was enough to hold a G7 summit.
Joe Biden will steal the spotlight from Emmanuel Macron, Mario Draghi and Olaf Scholz. The four of them will be the only ones who will be at the three meetings because Biden was invited, in an exceptional event, to participate in the European Council. Not Boris Johnson, whose comparison of the Ukrainian resistance with the British exit from the European Union shows that the Brexiters do not finish assimilating their new situation normally, which they must continue to justify. Canadian Justin Trudeau addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday.
Brussels is a city where 4 councils of ministers can meet on the same day (108 ministers from 27 countries) without hardly altering citizen life. That changes when Air Force One and its accompanying planes land in Zaventem. Then come the roadblocks, dozens of black SUVs with tinted windows, and exceptional security measures.
As soon as the American president leaves, everything returns to the complex normality of a city that largely lives outside these stalls.
The NATO summit will serve to ratify the measures already approved by the foreign and defense ministers last week . The Atlantic Alliance will permanently deploy more bases, more military assets and more troops on its eastern flank. And it will once again send Moscow the message that if it touches a single centimeter of the territory of any of the 30 NATO member states, it will have declared war on all 30. All for one and one for all, as article 5 of the Treaty says of the North Atlantic.
Weapons will also be discussed, in order to continue sending as much as possible to Ukraine. The latest are S300 flak, similar to but shorter range than the Russian S400, but which Ukrainian soldiers should be able to use without much training. Ukraine asks for fighter-bombers and although Poland, Slovakia and Hungary have Soviet-made Migs that could serve Ukrainian pilots there is no agreement and it is not even clear how they would be sent. What there will be are batteries of patriots to act as a shield in Poland against possible Russian missiles.
The European summit will have more substance. The row over energy prices will come when Biden is no longer in the room, probably on Friday. It is ugly to discuss in front of the guest. With the American there will be talk of maintaining coordination and sanctions against Russia, of making Moscow pay for the attack on Ukraine. Washington has been letting the Europeans assume the political leading role in recent weeks and this visit will show that the US Administration is in the same line as the Europeans.
Taking advantage of the fact that Biden passes through Pisuerga, the governments of the East will push again so that the 27 grant Ukraine the status of candidate country for accession as soon as possible. It’s already nine. And this Tuesday they achieved the support of a heavyweight, Mario Draghi’s Italy. This statute does not prefigure that one day Ukraine can enter (Montenegro has been a candidate for 14 years and has only negotiated three of the 33 necessary chapters) but it is a hammer blow on Putin’s long, long table.