Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Poland, Holland Oppose Moves For European Foreign Minister

Jacques Chirac, beleaguered President of France, has been pushing for the early adoption of some elements of the draft EU constitution (which was rejected by voters in France and Holland). One such is a stronger role for Javier Solana, currently the EU's foreign policy spokesman/co-ordinator. Chirac wants Solana to assume quasi Foreign Ministerial powers.

This would certainly be in the interests of the big EU countries such as France and Germany, whose mouthpiece Solana would become, but would tend to override the interests of smaller states. Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, who is in Berlin today to meet Chancellor Merkel, observes that such a move would be premature and undemocratic (the interview will be in tomorrow's Frankfürter Allgemeine Zeitung).

Kaczynski is supported in The Hague, where the Dutch government recently protested about Javier Solana's apologies to Muslims, during last month's controversy over some unfunny cartoons published in a selection of European newspapers.

Solana's apologies were impertinent, as it is no business of the EU (nor of national governments) to interfere with the freedom of expression of European newspapers published in sovereign countries.

Similarly, whilst big countries such as France and Germany opposed US actions in removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, others (Poland and Holland among them) came out in support of regime change. In light of such continuing conflicts of interest, it would be otiose to instal a European Foreign Minister to parrot the opinions of the larger European nations.

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