European Voice on tomorrow's emergency summit

Published: March 10, 2011 at 10:30pm

Rebels in Ras Lanuf a week ago. Gaddafi's forces have recaptured the town.

From an article (EU struggles for agreement on North Africa partnership, by Toby Vogel) in European Voice, today:

The European Union’s member states are arguing over whether a European Commission proposal for a new partnership with the countries of north Africa will remedy the failings of the EU’s approach to the region.

The proposal, adopted by the Commission on Tuesday (8 March), ties assistance to a commitment to political and economic reforms. But a group of member states led by Germany and the United Kingdom wants to strengthen these conditions, while Italy, Malta and other southern states prefer to pursue neighbourly relations and commercial opportunities without the constraint of political conditions.

Member states’ leaders are scheduled to consider the proposal at an emergency summit in Brussels tomorrow (11 March), after preparation by foreign ministers today.

(…) The diverging interests of member states emerged clearly on Monday, when Malta delayed an asset freeze against Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund, fearing a negative impact on Maltese businesses in which the fund holds a stake. The member states are to issue a declaration that such companies can carry on with their operations as long as they do not involve transfer of funds to Libya. The sanctions are to take effect on Friday morning.

Personal involvement also plays a role – as was demonstrated by a controversy created by John Dalli, Malta’s European commissioner, who has long links with Libya. He was obliged to issue clarifications after remarks he made to Maltese businessmen last weekend were interpreted as sympathetic to the Qaddafi regime.

3 Comments Comment

  1. ciccio2011 says:

    How could a country pursue commercial interests on the basis of “neighbourly relations” without the right political conditions? This may be OK if individuals are using their own contacts and their own money for their own business risks.

    But when business uses publicly-issued securities or bank funds sourced in one country to finance its risks in another (undemocratic) country, the systemic political risk infects the country where the funds originate.

    Why is it that having just been through the lesson, we have learned nothing?

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