EU high representative and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell gave a surprisingly blunt assessment of the Ukraine war and Europe's precarious position in an AFP interview published Tuesday, admitting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting on fracturing a united EU response amid the current crisis situation of soaring prices and energy extreme uncertainty headed into a long winter.
Borrell's words seemed to come close to admitting that Putin's tactic is working on some level, or at least will indeed chip away at European resolve in the short and long run, given he chose words like EU populations having to "endure" the deep economic pain and severe energy crunch. He cited the "weariness" of Europeans while calling on leadership as well as the common people to "bear the consequences" with continued resolve.
Borrell explained to AFP that Putin sees "the weariness of the Europeans and the reluctance of their citizens to bear the consequences of support for Ukraine."
But Borrell suggested that Europe will not back down no matter the leverage Moscow might have, particularly when it comes to 'weaponization of energy' - and called on citizens to continue to shoulder the cost. Who will blink first? ...appears to be the subtext here. He urged:
"We will have to endure, spread the costs within the EU," Borrell told AFP, warning that keeping the 27 member states together was a task to be carried out "day by day."
And yet, as some like Hungary's Viktor Orbán have consistently argued since near the start of the Feb.24 invasion, it is inevitable that some will be forced to bear the "costs" much more than others. Already this is being seen with initiatives out of Brussels like rationing gas consumption, which has further led to scenarios like German towns and even residences being mandated to switch off lights or resources for designated periods at night. "More cold showers" - many are also being told.
As we round the corner of fall and enter the more frigid months, we are likely to only see more headlines like this: German cities impose cold showers and turn off lights amid Russian gas crisis.
Alarmingly, the AFP in commenting on Borrell's assessment goes so far as to suggest Europeans must endure the costs of going "all in" on punitive anti-Russia actions and sanctions even if facing the prospect of deep recessions. Per the report:
Next week, Borrell will host meetings of EU foreign and defense ministers in Prague, hoping to shore up what has so far been a remarkably united diplomatic front against Russia's aggression.
The EU member states, most of which are also NATO allies, have agreed a series of sanctions packages targeting Putin's inner circle and sectors of the economy, including key oil exports.
But now, energy prices and inflation are soaring and several members, including economic powerhouse Germany, face the prospect of deep recessions.
Of course, Borrell's call for common citizens to essentially 'grin and bear it' - even as everything from energy sanctions to billions in Western weapons shipments to Kiev has only thus far led to a grinding stalemated situation on the battlefield - is nothing new.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic...
Biden administration officials, and the US president himself, alongside allies from the UK to Germany to Poland to Baltic allies have long ago said the same. It's basically the same message every time: policy elites call for "sacrifice" ...even as the self-generating crisis only hits the lower and middle classes.
You can read this article as it originally appears at Zero Hedge here.
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