Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tuomioja Thruths

As the foreign ministers of the European Union sit down together in the Council building in Brussels this afternoon, stakes are high.

It's a meeting that's been called by the Finnish Presidency of the Union, although not everyone has been overly keen on it.

On the agenda are the different aspects of the war in Lebanon, but also the situation in the Palestinian territrories, notably Gaza.

Although public opinion in Europe has been reasonably clear on these issues, governments have been divided, and the European Union the usual problem of too many voices have too little to say.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja might not be much of a diplomat, and that's why he has also been very blunt on what's at stake with, among other things, today's meeting.

"If the EU now is unable to act and to show leadership in this issue – the leadership that it is now being offered – we can say goodbye to EU power of influence for a long time,” Tuomioja has declared.

Somewhat exaggerated - the EU is still there after the profound debacle of the Iraq war - but worth saying anyhow.