The Brief – The great communicator –


The war in Ukraine has elevated Volodymyr Zelensky, until recently a political outsider, to the status of a great leader of Ukrainians and a symbol of courage for the whole world.

Dressed in his khaki sportswear, addressing online audiences ranging from executive summits to the Grammy Awards, Zelenskyy has become a familiar face in every household on every continent.

Zelenskyy is probably the most influential person in the world right now. At least he topped the TIME READER POLL 2022 ranking.

In each speech, tailored to each audience, Zelenskyy prepares a historical allusion, a reference to well-known traumatic events in the history of each country, to generate empathy with the suffering of Ukrainians.

In a speech to the British parliament, Zelenskyy invoked the World War II Blitz in London. In his address to the US Congress, he made reference to Pearl Harbor. Shining at the German Bundestag, he spoke of the Berlin Wall.

There was one instance where the reference he used, namely the Holocaust, addressing the Knesset was criticized as inappropriate, but in general Zelenskyy was highly rated by audiences around the world. .

Where he has had less success as a communicator is in public diplomacy involving key EU leaders.

Like his ministers, Zelenskyy has publicly criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for his (repeated) stance that Europe should avoid humiliating Putin.

Zelenskyy hinted that Macron wanted to save Putin’s face by paying with Ukrainian territory, allegations that the Elysee Palace rejected.

With Germany, a low point was reached when Ukraine refused the visit of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Zelenskyy also publicly criticized Germany for withholding weapons and ammunition. While a fair point, Steinmeier’s diplomatic snub was an insult to Berlin that stuck.

Kyiv expects the EU summit on June 23-24 to grant Ukraine candidate status for EU membership.

However, this author of the Brief thinks that Zelensky gives Paris and Berlin arguments likely to convince them that such a decision is premature.

It is more difficult to join a family if you publicly quarrel with some of its members (and the most powerful ones at that).

Turkey’s Recep Erdoğan has consistently lambasted most of his European counterparts, and his country’s EU membership process has been frozen.

Diplomats have told me that Zelensky’s tone vis-à-vis his European counterparts does not encourage them to decide that such a person (although very brave and very popular indeed) should sit at the same table.

Many EU countries support Ukraine’s accelerated EU membership. But Paris and Berlin are likely to decide that a pledge of Ukraine’s EU membership in the current phase of the war would be a further step towards escalation and, therefore, will not issue a favorable decision. .

It is interesting to see if Macron will visit Kyiv before the end of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU on June 30. There is still time, exactly three weeks.

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The roundup

German car associations revolted over support from the European Parliament on Wednesday a de facto ban on the sale of new combustion engine cars from 2035a central part of the European Commission’s long-term policy goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

At a time when Europe must strengthen its defence, the former Romanian Minister of Economy suggested privatization as a possible solution to the country’s public sector arms industry which is desperately trying to regain ground.

EU Ministers of Justice on Thursday adopted a regulation establishing a digital cooperation platform for joint investigation teams (JIT) but made the new platform inaccessible to customs offices.

Due to concerns over provisions they say could lead to the death of the gig economy, lawmakers from Renew Europe and the European People’s Party tabled similar amendments to the Platform Workers Directive to push back the rapporteur’s draft report.

The European Innovation Council (EIC) will provide 20 million euros in funding to Ukrainian startups just days after an MEP launched an investigation in the issues that have plagued the body since its launch.

Meanwhile, the European Union on Thursday urged Algeria to reverse its suspension of a cooperation treaty with Spain, calling for dialogue to resolve the dispute over Spain’s support for autonomy instead of full independence for the Western Sahara region supported by Algeria.

Meanwhile, Kazakh authorities are aware of public discontent and are trying to react, political analyst Anastassiya Reshetnyak told EURACTIV, after initially trying to brand the protesters as terrorists.

The EU Minimum Wage Directive and what it means for workers, as well as the Open Balkan Initiative and the involvement of the Russian Foreign Minister are discussed in EURACTIV’s Beyond the Byline.

Last but not least, consult our file on the economy.

Pay attention to…

  • Competitiveness Council and Justice and Home Affairs Councils until Friday.
  • The New European Bauhaus Festival until Sunday.
  • European Parliament President Roberta Metsola delivers a keynote speech at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday.
  • Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans in Finland on Friday.
  • Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič and Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski in Poland on Friday.

The views are those of the author.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic/Alice Taylor]


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