What does the EU agreement on the Middle East mean?
After hours of wrangling, the 27 EU member states have issued a joint declaration calling for "humanitarian corridors and pauses" in the Gaza Strip. The bloc wants to work with partners in the region to protect civilians and ensure access to aid supplies, it said. The declaration reflects some of the EU’s weaknesses, commentators note.
Common foreign policy lacking
The EU’s struggle to find a common stance on the Middle East conflict is unlikely to make much of a difference to the conflict itself, the Irish Independent sighs:
“Ceasefire calls are routinely ignored in conflict. ... It thus appears that an agreed EU wording and common position, when no common foreign policy exists, is almost irrelevant to the present and coming Gaza conflict. It is more about papering over the differences among the 27 as they prepare to watch from the sidelines.”
At breaking point
La Stampa worries:
“One question is increasingly pressing: is the EU capable of withstanding two conflicts of this magnitude on its doorstep? A question that entails at least two other, directly related and far more concrete questions. First, are the 27 governments prepared to throw more money into the common budget to meet the new challenges? And then: will the EU be able to cope with more waves of migrants fleeing the bombs, as Ursula von der Leyen noted yesterday?”
Israel must implement UN resolutions
In an open letter published in Delo, a group of Slovenian intellectuals demand that Slovenia’s president, prime minister and foreign minister exert more pressure on Israel:
“It is commendable that we in the EU are among those who have called on both warring parties to agree on a ceasefire to ensure the safe and consistent delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. But this is not enough! Israel must be called upon to finally end its current policy towards the Palestinians and start implementing the UN resolutions, or else face sanctions! Only this will be a step in the right direction.”