Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Latveria and the EU

rfmcdpei has an interesting post up on Latveria (and there is more useful background at WikiPedia). As some of you will be aware, I've been personally involved in Latveria affairs off and on for the last ten years, especially during the brief Richards regime. I'm a bit more pessimistic than rfmcdpei is about the prospects for its Euro-Atlantic integration, at least under current conditions, but we have to remember that things can change politically.

First off, Latveria's biggest problem is that it sits outside two of the key international fora. Under the Richards regime, it did apply to join the Council of Europe, but through a mixture of bad timing and bad faith that hasn't yet progressed to the point of membership. God knows, the CoE's criteria are not as stringent as some would like, but the current Latverian government doesn't seem interested in supplying even the verbal commitments which would have helped. More importantly, perhaps, it is outside the OSCE system; Dr Doom boycotted the process all the way through from the CSCE conference in 1973 to the present day, understandably since the whole point of the system is strategic security and mutual control. It was noticeable that although Richards made approaches to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, he left the OSCE secretariat in much closer Vienna alone, presumably because he too did not want to risk the country's key asset.

For these two reasons, EU membership in the near future isn't on the cards, as Dr Doom has himself stated. For the EU, even a democratic Latveria would be somewhere in the grey area between the western European micro-states, which are not seeking membership, and the smaller Balkan states, whose membership is a long way away. Without a better record on internal governance, there is no way that the EU will tolerate appointees of Dr Doom (or even the current leadership) sitting alongside the representatives of the other member states in its institutions. And his unwillingness to open up Latverian markets to EU goods, let alone adapt Latverian legislation to approximate to the acquis, has ensured that the Commission has sat on the dossier for years.

NATO, however, is a different matter, and I'm grateful to rfmcdpei for bringing some of the material on Latveria to my attention; I have always been struck by the different tone of voice adopted by NATO secretariat officials when the subject comes up. When I asked if there were any plans to invite Latveria to join NATO's Partnership for Peace, the answer was a very definite "no"; presumably NATO made its accommodation with Dr Doom back in the 1970s, at roughly the same time as he made his personal determination on the Helsinki Process, and those arrangements, which I believe have never been ventilated in public, are presumably still in force. It's notable that Latveria's diplomatic mission in Brussels is, unusually, out in Evere near NATO headquarters rather than in the EU district or the more fashionable south of the city, and the ambassador's habit of wearing full body armour is the subject of occasional wry comment at diplomatic cocktail parties. Again, its lack of internal democracy precludes Latveria from becoming a formal member of the Alliance, but it's clear that its links at least with the Pentagon are pretty friendly in places where it matters.

My personal association with the country, as I said earlier, peaked during the Richards regime, though there were one or two meetings held there during those glorious times when we were all trying to overthrow Slobodan Milošević. There was a hope among civil society in neighbouring countries that a lasting pro-democracy alliance could be forged between Richards appointees and the Zorbist supporters of the former monarchy. Alas, this all came to naught with the return of the servo-robots; it's notable that Latveria is the one country in the region where the Soros network has never even opened a representative office, never mind set up a foundation, and I understand that USAID and the EU have heavily cut back on their democratisation funding in the country in the last couple of years (certainly my own invitations to go there have dried up of late). I'm not totally certain that I agree with those who accuse the current government of being mere puppets of Dr Doom; in my experience, even puppets may turn out to have their own ideas and agendas, and can turn on their masters. However, this may be a case of expectations creating their own reality; until the government starts dismantling the servo-robots and legalising political parties, Latveria's pretensions to be a candidate for full Euro-Atlantic integration will continue to ring hollow.
Tags: eu, world: latveria

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