EU Again Split on Palestine

 

Palestine
Palestine (Photo credit: Squirmelia)

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.

See how the EU Split in the UNESCO Vote

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

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Country Voting No

  • Czech Republic

Countries Abstaining:

  • Bulgaria
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • United Kingdom

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.

See how your country voted here

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EU split on Palestine

 

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Today’s vote at UNESCO’s General Conference on full membership for Palestine gives an idea of how a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote could go if the membership bid gets that far. More worrying for me is the complete split among European Union member states showing the failure of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

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:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Slovenia
  • Spain

Countries voting NO:

  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden

Countries who Abstained:

  • Bulgaria
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • United Kingdom

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.

Addendum

The applicant Countires to the EU voted as follows:

  • Croatia: ABSTAINED
  • FYR Macedonia: ABSTAINED
  • Turkey: YES
  • Iceland: YES

The potential Candidate Countries voted as follows:

  • Albania: ABSTAINED
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: ABSTAINED
  • Kosovo: Not a member
  • Montenegro: ABSTAINED
  • Serbia: YES

To see a full list of how countries voted check out the post on

The Human Province

NEW UN TREATY TO PRESERVE WORLD’S RICH CULTURAL DIVERSITY TO COME INTO FORCE IN MARCH

A United Nations-backed international treaty to preserve the rich diversity of the world’s means of cultural expression from the dangers of globalization, including its many languages, will enter into force on 18 March after it topped the needed total of 30 ratifications yesterday.

“The rapidity of the ratification process is unprecedented,” UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=36209&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html) Director-General. Koïchiro Matsuura said today of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in October 2005.

“None of UNESCO’s other cultural conventions has been adopted by so many States in so little time,” Mr Matsuura added. Another 13 countries, as well as the European Community, yesterday deposited their instrument of ratification at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, bringing the total to 35.

As examples of the kind of cultural consolidation threatened by globalization, UNESCO notes that 50 per cent of the world languages are in danger of extinction and that 90 per cent of them are not represented on the Internet. In addition, five countries monopolize the world cultural industries. In the field of cinema, for instance, 88 countries have never had their own film productions.

Besides promoting diversity in those areas, the Convention seeks to reaffirm the links between culture, development and dialogue and to create a platform for international cooperation, including the creation of an international fund for cultural diversity.

It highlights “the importance of intellectual property rights in sustaining those involved in cultural creativity” and reaffirms that “freedom of thought, expression and information, as well as diversity of the media, enable cultural expressions to flourish within societies.”

It also supports UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted in 2001, which recognized cultural diversity as “a source of exchange, innovation and creativity,” a common heritage of humanity that “should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.”

The new Convention reaffirms the sovereign right of States to elaborate cultural policies with a view “to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions and reinforce international cooperation” while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.