Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin in an interview with The Bild tabloid has suggested the European Council of Foreign Ministers to impose sanctions on ex-chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder. Later, after the European Council meeting, Pavlo Klimkin left a post on Facebook saying The Bild misunderstood him and he did not mean sanctions. In fact, Brussels showed the foreign minister of Ukraine his place.
The incident drew a wide response in Germany and neighboring Austria. Spokesperson of Angela Merkel — Steffen Seibert has responded to Klimkin’s statement on the next day saying «The government of Germany and chancellor see no reasons to consider such issues.» As a result, on March 19, one of Deutsche Welle headlines read: «Angela Merkel rejects sanctions on predecessor Schröder for Russia support.» A question arises as to whether Germany could impose such sanctions and then have them «approved» by EU?
In the meantime, Klimkin had to give explanations to journalists saying he just «thought» that everyone who helps Russia «poses threat to security of EU» and «therefore, EU should respond.» However, he did not say how should the EU respond and why should it respond.
Later, Klimkin told Deutsche Welle that speaking of Schroeder he meant «the EU — both nationally and at the EU level — should act against such persons because they keep driving projects, Russian projects, which are supported by Russian companies, which are under EU sanctions and which are used now as a tool in the sense of Russian meddling into the European Union.»
The EU should act… What? Yet not so long ago, they in Kiev used to settle such issues with public throwing of problematic persons into garbage. Why not to apply that practice to Schroeder as well?
Klimkin made some uncertain statements to DW related to his offer «to act.» «So on lobbyists like Gerhard Schröder, there should be a clear understanding, what is their role, and there should be a clear understanding, what is the way forward. It’s not about sanctioning them tomorrow and after tomorrow. Let’s be fair. But in a political sense, I believe people like Gerhard Schröder totally lost their credibility. And in this sense there should be a political drive enacted against them,» Klimkin said without explaining what he meant by saying «political drive». For instance, in U.S., they still informally apply Lynch Law and mob action through tar and feathering, riding out of a town. That’s a direct democracy!
Klimkin’s suggestions require our special comments and not because we sympathize the ex-chancellor, social democrat Schroeder. We are speaking about public order ensuring liberal democracy and overall agreement in particular place, we are speaking about rules.
Klimkin suggested imposing EU sanctions on a citizen of Germany — something that is possible only through a court action. In the case of EU, it is impossible to impose sanctions on a citizen of EU member-state through an administrative decision of supranational agencies. A sanction is a corrective action applied to an offender and implies unfavorable consequences for him. Sanctions without court action are a violation of human rights, whereas «human rights» matter more than religion does. Sanctions shall be stipulated in a relevant law, for instance in the local Criminal Code. What are sanctions? An action of non-legal punishment. Carl von Clausewitz defines war as «the continuation of policy by other, violent means.» Sanctions, in turn, are continuation of policy by non-violent means. In fact, war and sanctions have similar political influence. Ukrainian minister Klimkin actually suggested EU to divide and attack insiders. Application of the idea «sanctions» by states to define unilateral coercive measures just implies presumption of their lawful origin, but rules out the issue of legitimacy of their international and legal application. The sanctions that Klimkin requested for Schroeder are beyond domestic and international law.
What types of sanctions does EU impose normally? For instance, EU’s sanctions imposed on individuals of Russia and Ukraine imply ban on entry into EU and freezing of assets at European banks, if there are any. It is worth mentioning that the above measures are not applicable to citizen of German Schroeder, unless there is court action. What about Schengen and property right? To punish Schroeder with sanctions, EU has to invent them, first.
Considering that Schroeder is a chair of Rosneft Board having ties with Gazprom, the only so far possible sanction on him may be a ban on any type of employment at companies with Russian jurisdiction. However, this will be a general sanction, not just on Schroeder. If such sanction is imposed on the principle «against all,» Schroeder will have to either comply with it or leave EU’s jurisdiction.
How has Gerhard Schroeder managed to avoid sanctions so far? Such question was voiced by the Wall Street Journal. U.S. can impose sanctions on a citizen of Germany. Why not? The more so as, the Wall Street Journal called Schroeder «Putin's key oligarch.»
This incident demonstrates the political model that has developed since 2014. Now, U.S. and their EU allies impose sanctions and threaten with sanctions whether it is relevant or not. Sanctions have become a kind of magic wand in conflicts. For instance, the Skripals were poisoned in Salisbury and the first reaction was «sanctions.» U.S. has imposed so many sanctions on «America's enemies» that even their own legislators and government members fail to cope with them. They publish one hundred-page brochures with specific sanctions, for instance, on Iran. Do legislators read them? In fact, the more sanctions they impose, the more chaotically and non-systematically they are applied. U.S. even has to increase the staffs of specialized departments of the finance ministry.
Klimkin’s suggestion subtext is evident. It was an indirect attack on Nord Stream-2. However, Klimkin failed to find the easiest solution. After all, Ukraine could impose sanctions on Schroeder, if its minister sees actions of a EU citizen harmful for his country. Such symbolic sanctions on Schroeder could have certain propaganda success, becoming a measure of public influence on him. Furthermore, Klimkin could warn German politicians of possible sanctions by Ukraine if they support Nord Stream-2. It would be quite interesting if he threatened with sanctions Merkel, who, reportedly, promoted him for the post of Ukrainian foreign minister after resignation of Andrii Deshchytsia.
Haters call Klimkin Moscow’s man, pervert, alcohol and drug addict, and even autistic. Here is how awkward he is. For instance, an informal poll on Facebook among female employees of the ministry revealed that Klimkin was appointed to be a sex-symbol of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. At present, the cover photo of the minister’s Facebook account reads «Crimea is Bleeding.» Despite this, Klimkin has lately quite «successfully» married again and his father-in-law is retired Soviet-Ukrainian general awarded with Russian medal in 2014 for «Reuniting Crimea.» Earlier, Klimkin and Ambassador Churkin shook hands at the UN.
Klimkin claims that Pushkin is a «Ukrainian.» Then, who is Klimkin? When deprived of Ukrainian citizenship, Mikheil Saakashvili said Klimkin is an ethnic Russian with the Russian citizenship. «He speaks Ukrainian worse than I do,» Saakashvili said to prove his words.
For conclusion, one could say that Klimkin’s request for EU sanctions on German citizen, ex-chancellor Schroeder once again proves his infantilism. Actually, he needs to further think «what to do.»