Bota2023-10-28 08:08:00

One summit, two crises: EU between Ukraine and Israel

Shkruar nga Pamfleti

One summit, two crises: EU between Ukraine and Israel

EU struggling for unity: The EU will continue to support Ukraine's defensive struggle against Russia. The Middle East also played a role in the second day of the summit.

Orban and Fico hold back efforts for Ukraine

There was criticism of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Vikotr Orban, who last week met the Russian aggressor, Vladimir Putin, at an economic summit in Beijing and shook his hand in friendship. Orban is considered by many diplomats as Putin's submarine in the European Union, also because Hungary continues to maintain good economic ties with Ukraine's adversary, Russia.

Orban together with the newly elected prime minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, cause Brussels to worry. Both populists questioned the financing of other budget aid for Ukraine in the amount of 50 billion euros. Both rejected the proposal to have an additional 20 billion euro fund ready for the supply of arms to Ukraine. The disagreement on Ukraine meant that the several-year EU budget framework was not adapted to the many crises of recent years. The budget dispute is expected to end in December.

The German position is unchanged: additional aid for Ukraine and migration must be found through internal redistribution in the budget. Berlin will not provide additional funding. The EC requests an additional 65 billion euros for new expenses until 2027. Germany, as the EU's largest net donor, should take over 25% of the amount. Charles Michel presented the debate on aid to Ukraine as a normal procedure. "This is the same exercise always. We meet. We fight and in the end we are united again." The EU budget must be approved unanimously.

The French president criticizes Israel

Humanitarian corridors, a cease-fire and an international peace conference, which the EU summit called for on Friday (27.10.) after lengthy discussions about Israel's fight against Islamist terrorist Hamas, were the subjects of fresh debate. French President Emmanuel Macron, who had proposed a peace conference, announced the establishment of a "humanitarian alliance" with Greece and Cyprus to supply the population in the Gaza Strip. Israel continues bombings after the terrorist attacks on October 7 by Hamas, which is categorized as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, Germany and several Arab countries. The population in the Gaza Strip has been asked to leave the northern 30 kilometers of the Gaza Strip, but the options for leaving are limited. The United Nations describes the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip as catastrophic. Macron criticized the airstrikes as "undifferentiated" before reporters in Brussels and again called for a ceasefire.

Scholz on Israel's side

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stood by previous statements that Israel has the right to defend itself. This should be done within the framework of international law. He believes that Israel will respect this. The EU's common position is "very, very valuable," Scholz said, without commenting on the French president's position.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez failed to convince all EU countries with his request for an official ceasefire. The Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, said that the atmosphere created in favor of Israel after the terrorist attacks of Hamas, is slowly changing because of Israel's action in the Gaza Strip. Chancellor Olaf Scholz did not support this position. "I see it unchanged that there is broad support for the policy from European governments and countries to act on the position we have now set out." Israel defends itself against an attack. The attitude of citizens about this has not changed. An Israeli diplomat told DW after the summit that EU decisions will not have any impact there. Israel does not allow itself to be asked for a pause or a cease-fire. There can be no such thing, because the war against Hamas structures on the ground has not yet started.

"The EU demands the immediate release of the hostages"

The EU appealed to Hamas to immediately release the 200 hostages taken. The outgoing Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, recalled that the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip should also be seen as a hostage. She is being used as a human shield by Hamas, which is prohibited by the law of war. "We have to be careful not to mix up Hamas and the Palestinians. Hamas is holding the Palestinians hostage at the moment, that's a fact," Bettel said. The outgoing Prime Minister of Luxembourg said that his lesson after 10 years in office is that the EU has always managed to overcome all crises, but by being united. In foreign policy this is more difficult. Here, despite its economic power, the EU has problems exercising its influence. "We are big, but we act like small." Meanwhile, the EU must "get involved to avoid escalation," said Xavier Bettel. /DW

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