Posted tagged ‘EU’

“Europe Won’t Compromise” … ??

March 31, 2009

A nice event at the European Parliament results in some good promises from EU officials that Europe “won’t compromise” on Durban II. (See report.) The promise that Europe will withdraw if red lines are crossed is not new. But: (1) When? and (2) Is the reaffirmation of the 2001 Durban Declaration one of those red lines?

In Washington, there’s not much surprise that Europe remains fully engaged with the process. The Russian re-draft seems to have been cleverly designed to eliminate the most noxious language and allowing Europe to stay in the game.


EU-Israel Talks on Human Rights, Racism

March 23, 2009

In the midst of the pitched debate about Durban, it’s worth keeping in mind that Israel and the EU have a generally healthy, growing, and wide-ranging bilateral agenda, including regular diplomatic consultations on human rights, racism, and anti-Semitism.

This report from the European Jewish Press describes talks between EU officials and the team of Aviva Raz Shechter, who has the anti-Semitism portofolio at the Israeli foreign ministry (and does a great job). Durban II was on the agenda, but so were many other things, including common efforts to combat hate crimes, prevent extremism, and stamp out anti-Semitism.

Again, worth keeping in mind that there’s a day after Durban, and when it comes, Europe and Israel will both have much to contribute to the struggle for a more humane world.

Dutch Counter-Text

March 18, 2009

Here’s an alternative Durban text that the Netherlands have proposed. They’d like it to be an EU initiative, but so far it seems to be a Dutch one. It (literally) cuts and pastes agreed-upon language to create a much more concise statement of principles. It also adds new language affirming the importance of free expression, and the inadmissability of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

View this document on Scribd

France: New Text Doesn’t Cross Red Lines

March 17, 2009

So says Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, as reported by Reuters. “It would seem that precise improvements have been made.” Kouchner says there will be a common EU position — which, as of the moment, there is not. To be continued …

Netherlands Said to Seek EU Withdrawal

March 12, 2009

AJC’s UN Watch has a scoop: Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen affirmed to his parliament’s foreign affairs committee today that he seeks EU withdrawal from Durban II. This comes in advance of Monday’s EU ministerial meeting in Brussels. Verhagen reportedly said:

The document is unacceptable. … My red lines are: religion is misused to stand above individual rights. There should be no excuse in the text to condone violence against homosexuals, anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing. … I am actively involved in the matter. There will be no compromises regarding principles. I am aiming for a joint withdrawal of all EU ministers, unless the document is not changed. If this does not succeed, then I am not afraid to unilaterally withdraw from Durban. Principles come first.

German MEP Calls for EU Withdrawal

March 8, 2009

Alexander Lambsdorff, chair of the European Parliament’s Working Group on EU-UN Relations, calls for Europe to pull out in an op-ed in today’s IHT.

Breaking: Italy’s Out

March 5, 2009

Italy becomes the first European country to withdraw from the Durban process. FM Frattini says the draft outcome document contains “aggressive and anti-Semitic statements.” The man speaks the truth. Kudos, says AJC.

Now — who’s next?