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

#EUDay: Schuman Declaration

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On the 9th of May each year we mark the Anniversay of the Schuman Declaration. This declaration made by French Minister for Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman in 1950, set the basis for what would has become the European Union.

61 years later and with the EU at a crossroad due to the financial crisis and the lessening impact it has around the world, it its only right we look back at the declation which started it all and remind us of why we are here.

World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.
The contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. In taking upon herself for more than 20 years the role of champion of a united Europe, France has always had as her essential aim the service of peace. A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.
With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point.

It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe.  The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.

This production will be offered to the world as a whole without distinction or exception, with the aim of contributing to raising living standards and to promoting peaceful achievements. With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent. In this way, there will be realised simply and speedily that fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system; it may be the leaven from which may grow a wider and deeper community between countries long opposed to one another by sanguinary divisions.

By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.
To promote the realization of the objectives defined, the French Government is ready to open negotiations on the following bases.

The task with which this common High Authority will be charged will be that of securing in the shortest possible time the modernization of production and the improvement of its quality; the supply of coal and steel on identical terms to the French and German markets, as well as to the markets of other member countries; the development in common of exports to other countries; the equalization and improvement of the living conditions of workers in these industries.

To achieve these objectives, starting from the very different conditions in which the production of member countries is at present situated, it is proposed that certain transitional measures should be instituted, such as the application of a production and investment plan, the establishment of compensating machinery for equating prices, and the creation of a restructuring fund to facilitate the rationalization of production. The movement of coal and steel between member countries will immediately be freed from all customs duty, and will not be affected by differential transport rates. Conditions will gradually be created which will spontaneously provide for the more rational distribution of production at the highest level of productivity.

In contrast to international cartels, which tend to impose restrictive practices on distribution and the exploitation of national markets, and to maintain high profits, the organization will ensure the fusion of markets and the expansion of production.

The essential principles and undertakings defined above will be the subject of a treaty signed between the States and submitted for the ratification of their parliaments. The negotiations required to settle details of applications will be undertaken with the help of an arbitrator appointed by common agreement. He will be entrusted with the task of seeing that the agreements reached conform with the principles laid down, and, in the event of a deadlock, he will decide what solution is to be adopted.

The common High Authority entrusted with the management of the scheme will be composed of independent persons appointed by the governments, giving equal representation. A chairman will be chosen by common agreement between the governments. The Authority’s decisions will be enforceable in France, Germany and other member countries. Appropriate measures will be provided for means of appeal against the decisions of the Authority.
A representative of the United Nations will be accredited to the Authority, and will be instructed to make a public report to the United Nations twice yearly, giving an account of the working of the new organization, particularly as concerns the safeguarding of its objectives.

The institution of the High Authority will in no way prejudge the methods of ownership of enterprises. In the exercise of its functions, the common High Authority will take into account the powers conferred upon the International Ruhr Authority and the obligations of all kinds imposed upon Germany, so long as these remain in force.

 

Public Consultation on Universal Periodic Review

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I got this via email, and for those interested in the UN Human Right Council or Human Rights in Ireland should definitely attend these  meetings. I am going to try and attend the Cork meeting and will try and tweet from it.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter T.D. and the Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch T.D. are inviting members of the public and organisations to take part in public consultation meetings to discuss Ireland’s human rights record as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

A series of public meetings will be held around the country as follows:

DUBLIN, Monday 16/05/2011, 7-10 pm.
St. Andrew’s Resource Centre, 114 Pearse St., Dublin 2

ATHLONE, Wednesday 18/05/2011, 7-10 pm.
Douglas Hyde theatre, Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Athlone

KILKENNY, Friday 20/05/2011, 7-10 pm
The Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle

LIMERICK, Monday 23/05/2011, 7-10 pm
Room 310, Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick

SLIGO, Wednesday 25/05/2011, 7-10 pm
Room A0006, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ash Lane, Sligo

CORK, Friday 27/05/2011, 7-10 pm
Boole 1, University College Cork, College Road, Cork

DUBLIN, Monday 30/05/2011, 7-10 pm
Axis Ballymun Theatre, Main Street, Ballymun, Dublin 9

An interdepartmental working group chaired by the Department of Justice and Equality is preparing Ireland’s National Report on our domestic human rights situation for the United Nations Human Rights Council UPR process. The National Report, which must be submitted to the UN by Monday, 4 July 2011, will be informed by consultation with and submissions from individuals and organisations, and the Department is keen to give the widest possible range of organisations and members of the public the opportunity to make submissions on issues of importance in the area of human rights in Ireland.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is one of the major innovations of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (established in 2006), whereby the domestic human rights records of all 192 UN Member States are reviewed every four years. 48 countries are reviewed each year, starting in 2008, with 16 reviews taking place in each of the thrice yearly UPR Working Group sessions. Ireland’s first review under the UPR process will take place on 6 October 2011.

For more information about the UPR process, guidance on how to prepare a submission and to make a submission, please visit our website, www.upr.ie

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Campaign for a more accountable and democratic UN

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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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United Nations Security Council Election Voting Results

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As promised here are the results from today’s elections at the UN General Assembly to fill 5 non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council. The quota in all elections was 127 based on the fact that 182 members were present and voting.

African Group:

  • South Africa 182

Asian Group

  • India 187

Latin America

  • Columbia 186

Western Europe and Other States

Round 1 Result:

  • Germany 128
  • Portugal 122
  • Canada 114

Round 2 Result:

  • Portugal 113
  • Canada 78

Round 3 Result:

  • Portugal 150
  • Canada 32
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Security Council Election Results

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29:  Members of Security Co...
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A follow on from this mornings post on the Elections to the five non-permament seats on the UN Security Council.

The following countries have been elected:

  • African Group: South Africa
  • Asian Group: India
  • Latin America: Columbia
  • Western European and Other States: Germany and Portugal

While the African, Asian and Latin American seats were uncontested, the candidates still needed a two-third majority to be elected.Canada, Germany and Portugal were contesting the Western European and Other States Seat.

Germany attained the required votes on the first round of voting. On the second round Portugal finished higher then Canada. Following that announcement and before the third round of voting, Canada withdrew from the election. The General Assembly is currently voting on Portugal membership of the council.

The full voting results are here

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Elections to the Security Council

UN Security Council Chamber in New York.
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Today 5 new members of the of United Nations Security Council will be elected. They will replace Uganda, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Austria.

They will be elected for two years. The African seat is not being contested as South Africa as been endorsed by the African Union and is therefore unopposed. For the Asian seat, India is running unopposed and it is the same in Latin America where Columbia is running unopposed. The only election will be for the Western Europe and Others Group. Portugal, Germany and Canada are all vying for a place on the council.There are two seats available for this group so only one will lose out. Many do hope to see Canada win one of the seats.

Germany and India want reform of the UN to allow them (plus Brazil and Japan) to have permanent seats at the UN Security Council. This is of course opposed by many other UN member states especially Italy and Mexico. Russia and China also don’t like the idea.

I will post the results as soon as they are out.

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