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

 

Flag of the United Nations Educational, Scient...
Image via Wikipedia

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

Campaign for a more accountable and democratic UN

UN Parliamentary Assembly logo. Contributed to...
Image via Wikipedia

After my posts on the UN Security Council Elections I received an interesting email on a “Campaign for a more accountable and democratic UN”. They are campaigning for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). The appeal is quite interesting.

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) for the first time would give citizen representatives, not only states, a direct and influential role in global policy. The assembly would not replace existing UN bodies but would be an additional means to integrate parliamentarians more effectively into the shaping of globalization.

As a transitional step until direct elections become practical, the UN Parliamentary Assembly could consist of delegates from national and possibly regional parliaments, reflecting their political diversity. The UNPA would therefore include members of minority parties whose opinions are often not represented in the United Nations. Unlike current UN ambassadors, UNPA representatives would not be subject to the authority of national governments. These parliamentarians would be free to ask probing questions, raise sensitive issues, and table innovative proposals for consideration by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Bretton Woods financial institutions and other UN bodies.

The great problems of our times – such as war, disease, poverty and climate change – cannot be solved by individual nations acting alone. Direct citizen representation could help the world develop a greater understanding of itself as a global community. At the highest levels of the United Nations, a UNPA could function as a world conscience and watchdog, and a catalyst for further reforms. Over time, the UNPA could evolve from a consultative body to a world parliament with genuine rights of information, participation and control.

A consultative Parliamentary Assembly at the UN could be established as a subsidiary body by a vote in the General Assembly under Article 22, without changing the UN Charter. The historical record demonstrates, as with the Land Mines Treaty and the International Criminal Court, that if a few countries urged on by civil society take the lead, significant transformation at the international level is indeed possible.

The “Appeal for the Establishment for a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations” promoted by the UNPA-Campaign reflects the consenus among like-minded parliamentarians, civil society representatives, activists and scholars regarding the proposal.

The campaign is being supported by many important people.

After only three years the campaign is now already supported by 779 parliamentarians from 97 countries and 270 NGOs. In addition to this, individual supporters include hundreds of distinguished personalities, in particular 268 professors from 53 countries, 6 Nobel laureates, 11 Right Livelihood laureates, 10 former foreign ministers, 5 former prime ministers and people from all walks of life.

There is a facebook page for people who want to find out more. You can endorse the campaign here.

After only three years the campaign is now already supported by 779 parliamentarians from 97 countries and 270 NGOs. In addition to this, individual supporters include hundreds of distinguished personalities, in particular 268 professors from 53 countries, 6 Nobel laureates, 11 Right Livelihood laureates, 10 former foreign ministers, 5 former prime ministers and people from all walks of life.

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