The Warped Mirror/JPost
06 December 09
Last week, the international media were abuzz with reports that the European Union (EU) planned to act on a Swedish initiative that called for the formal recognition of east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. The endorsement was apparently expected in the wake of a meeting of EU foreign ministers scheduled for December 7-8 in Brussels, where the EU's policy on Mideast peace was among the issues on the agenda.
It is important to understand that the EU is currently trying to assert itself as a major player on the world stage. Europe has just filled two newly created leadership positions by appointing the first President of the European Council and the first High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Both positions went to "surprise" candidates who are hardly known on the European stage, and the appointments were widely criticized and even ridiculed. Indeed, it was rather fitting that one of the first media reports on the appointments concluded with some culinary revelations: "The decision was made last night over a dinner of wild mushrooms, spiced sea bass and chocolate fondant."
However, life in the service of the EU is not all about gourmet pleasures, and there has been quite a bit of concern recently because European politicians feel that they are no longer enjoying a "special relationship" with the US. A recent study on the subject warned gloomily:
An unsentimental President Obama has already lost patience with a Europe lacking coherence and purpose. In a post-American world, the United States knows it needs effective partners. If Europe cannot step up, the US will look for other privileged partners to do business with."
The EU's proposed stance on east Jerusalem may well be an exercise in muscle-flexing designed to show Obama that Europe is ready to fully back demands for a complete settlement construction freeze that would include Jerusalem. While searching for some background information on the subject, I came across a Web site called EUobserver that featured two relevant reports on its home page.
One report describes the apparently somewhat tense atmosphere during the first encounter between the EU's inexperienced new foreign policy chief and EU parliamentarians: