Behold the mighty EU, second only to the US in economic heft. But also witness what a minnow it is in world diplomacy. Is it any wonder the world’s hard-nosed autocrats and nationalists, practitioners of Realpolitik all, don’t take the EU seriously, unless the subject is trade?

The ones laughing loudest right now are the presidents of Turkey and Belarus. Neighbours of the EU, each has been causing trouble. This week, Europe was supposed to impose sanctions against one of them, Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko, for his blatant manipulation of the country’s election in August and subsequent crackdown on protesters. Instead, Brussels did nothing. If that seems puzzling, ask the bloc’s third-smallest member state by population: Cyprus...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now