Monday, November 22, 2004

New Commissioner for External Affairs speaks

In case you were wondering, the new Commissioner for External Affairs is Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the former Austrian Foreign Minister. It was a stroke of genius of some kind to give the job to somebody who represents one of the small member states and a “neutral” one at that. What exactly can Frau Ferrero-Waldner do?

Well, she can make statements and, fortunately, Rachel Sylvester of the Daily Telegraph is on hand to pass these on to the populace. Frau Ferrero-Waldner thinks that the EU should have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, an idea we have already referred to in the past.

The EU, she thinks, should take a more “communal approach to international bodies like the UN”. Indeed, as we have pointed out on numerous occasions there is a close ideological connection between the two bodies, both being part of the attempt to create transnational, “post-democratic” governance by self-appointed hierarchies.
"The more we speak with one voice, the better for us and the better for Europe.We are not important if we don't speak with one voice."
It is not clear from that statement who “we” are and who “Europe” is and why should anything be better for any of them. However, she touches obliquely on the underlying problem when she explains that the argument over the war in Iraq is “regrettable”. Not so much regrettable, surely, as inevitable. How can “Europe” speak with one voice if it does not have one opinion to express? Whose voice is going to control the other tongues, in Frau Ferrero-Waldner’s view?

In the new Commissioner’s opinion an EU seat will not mean that France and Britain will have to give up their permanent seats. That could result in interesting results with the three voting in three separate ways or it could emulate the Soviet precedent in the UN General Assembly, when the USSR had in effect three seats, two of the republics having seats of their own.

There is another aspect to this whole problem. As we have written before, Germany is canvassing round the world for support for a permanent seat of her own. Joschka Fischer is ignoring all calls for European solidarity. Italy is watching developments with interest and so are Brazil and India. If Germany achieves her aim, the others will follow.

Once countries acquire permanent seats on the UN Security Council they will not want to give these up. With so many of them, plus the rotating members, each with a veto, the chances of another resolution are about nil, which is all to the good. The argument for regional seats will then become more convoluted and less popular with the big beasts of each region.

That will leave the European Union, which is trying to be a region and a state at the same time. If France, Britain, Germany, Italy and the EU have permanent seats, there will be a huge outcry about the body being unfairly weighed in Europe’s favour. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner may well regret her comments.

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