Last night the European Union again failed to present a Common Foreign Policy with regards to Palestine. Following on from last years split on the admission to UNESCO, the EU split on upgrading Palestine from being an “nonmember observer entity” to “nonmember observer state” at the United Nations. Bringing it to the same level as the Vatican City in the UN System.
While overall the UN General Assembly vote was 138 Yes, 9 No and 41 Abstentions, this time round the EU Split 14 Yes, 1 No and 12 Abstentions. They were as follows (countries in Italic changed vote since 2011):
Countries Voting Yes
Country Voting No
Again Some Common Policy? Its interesting to note that most countries softened there positions. Italy, Denmark and Portugal went from Abstain to Yes. Germany, Netherlands and Lithuania went from No to Abstain. Sweden did a straight switch from No to Yes.
Slovenia was the only country to change from a Yes vote and Abstained.
This vote shows that the Czech Republic is the only country still out-rightly opposed to the recognition of Palestine in International Bodies for the moment.
Of course what this vote really shows is the utter shambles that is the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy is when it comes to Palestine.
At the end of the day, I am delighted that Palestine is now the 194th country recognised by the United Nations.
The application for membership was accepted by 107 Yes votes to 14 No votes with 52 Abstentions. The EU was split as follows;
Countries voting YES:
Countries voting NO:
Countries who Abstained:
So that meant the EU split 11 Yes, 5 No and 11 Abstentions. Some Common policy there?
The question of Palestinian membership of the United Nations is going to be a long protracted one as long as the United States is threatening the use of the Veto on the UN Security Council. This is holding up a vote in the UNGA on Palestine’s membership. But at least now the Palestinians have an idea of the amount of support they have within the UN System.
Of course the fallout of this vote will not show in the EU’s CFSP and will be ignored. But the big fallout will either be the US withholding funding from UNESCO or withdrawing from the organisation completely.
For now though the idea of a Common Foreign Policy is a long way off, and today’s vote proves that.
The applicant Countires to the EU voted as follows:
FYR Macedonia: ABSTAINED
The potential Candidate Countries voted as follows:
Bosnia and Herzegovina: ABSTAINED
Kosovo: Not a member
To see a full list of how countries voted check out the post on
Last Tuesday I attended the Alliance Francaise de Cork/UCC European Symposium. In the afternoon we split into round-tables. I went along to the round-table entitled “The Question of the European Army”. This round-table was led by Quentin Perret of Atelier Europe, Nevin Power and Frank O’Callaghan.
Quentin seemed to be on his own on the Pro-Army side. He based his arguments around four points.
Efficiencies from Commonalities
On the other hand the Irish in attendance were very much opposed to the idea of an European Union. The arguments weren’t as easily grouped as we weren’t the ones guiding the discussion, but they centred around the following ideas
It was quite an interesting discussion. I think in Ireland we do need to discuss this more. We seem to have a “lalala – fingers in ears” reaction to any discussion about a European Army. I know I found it hard to discuss myself.
Towards the end of the discussions we found two scenarios when a European Army is possible. The appearance of another. For example, if Russia became belligerent against the EU member states, or if the United States decided to withdraw from supporting European security. Then there will be a big hole in European defence structures and a lack of ways of European Armies to be deployed around the world. (NATO is heavily dependent on US Military might). I think it is highly probably in either of those cases that a European Army will be on table.
One thing that Quentin said though is true, if Europe is to become a European Federation (United States of Europe) then it will certainly need some sort of army. That is true of any state.
Ireland has a strange relationship with military power. As a small country we bat way above our weight without having to resort to use military force, or the threat of such force.
I think we need to start really talking about a European Army in Ireland so we can be properly aware of when it is acceptable to us that an army is created. It should not be a discussion that should be led down the road of conscription and the loss of the triple lock etc, they will still be our Governments choice. As long as the Common Foreign and Security Policy is an area where unanimity is needed then there will be no European Army, but what will Ireland’s relationship with an Army set up under the enhanced co-operation procedure be?
This is a big and complicated issue and one there needs to be civilised public discourse on. Will it happen? I doubt.