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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Syria: The Ins, the Outs - and the Maybes

As we noted in our previous blog post, Syria has again shown that the EU holds almost as many foreign policy positions as there are states - though we should also remember that this is an extremely complex and senstitive situation.

However, as we also note below, EU countries seem to be coalesing around at least three positions at present. One group - the UK, France and Denmark - is commited to military action with or without the UN. The second group are the definite 'outs' and the largest group is made up of those still waiting to make up their minds. Added to that there is perhaps a fourth group made up of a number of smaller states who have not expressed a clear opinion.

The table below divided the 28 EU member states into these four groups, based on our reading of the current stated positions. This is of course a very fluid table - heavily dependent on evidence, events and developments - and as ever, we welcome reader comments in case we've missed something or if a country's position changes.
Click to enlarge


jon livesey said...

It's not exactly a coincidence that the UK and France are the two countries that took part in the Mandate negotiations that created the modern state of Syria, initially as a French Mandate, following the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.


Where Denmark fits in is harder to say.

I think future historians, who will have a wider perspective than we do, will probably draw a line between the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and our current interventions in the Islamic World.

Rollo said...

Well the one thing this shows: we must never put our defence in the hands of the EU; we should never let a majority EU process control our national interests.

Rik said...

Danemark fits in as follows. It is simply the price they (and possibly their soldiers) pay for providing a secretary general of NATO.
They better had paid the guy the money directly for doing nothing would have been much cheaper at the end of the day. Like the EP you have all sorts of surplus to requirement politicians that nobody in business will think of hiring who need a job and iso messing up things at home they do lateron on an European level (or NATO as here).

Also interesting to see the poll in Soapdodgia (also known by a lot of people as France) where a majority is for intervention but there is no majority for themselves to do it.
Really you Europeans become a bigger joke by the day.

Rik said...

Fully agree, whatever you think about the issue you cannot have essential government tasks depend on this sort of discussionmaking.

No line in it whatsoever and the more urgent the issue becomes the more differences of opinion. You cannot wait with decisionmaking until after the German elections or an Irish referendum or depend for essential weaponsytems on a Danish opt out.

Rollo said...

We all like to see that ass Cameron being squashed.
We do not want to arm Islamic militants.
We do not want boots on the ground.
We do not want unreasonable demands made of our troops.
We do not want ego-inflating wars.

We do not want to stand by while innocent civilians including children are being bombed or poisoned or burnt alive.

There are things we can do:
Establish a no fly zone, as we did in Iraq for many years.
Take out selected artillery sites; they are being observed; we know when they fire and where they aim. We can hit them from Houston.

Doing nothing is morally bankrupt.


Anonymous said...

The legacy of Blair and the disastrous last Labour government will continue to haunt the UK for years.

The UN is not fit for purpose and Paddy Ashdown is quite right - we have let down the people of Syria. Shame on the Chinese and Russians too.