Monday

27th Jun 2022

Finland slams EU foreign policy leaks

Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency since 1 July, has accused member states of leaking important foreign policy documents to countries outside the EU, including Israel.

"For a long time it has been known that, within an hour after being distributed to the member states, all EU documents concerning the Middle East have already reached Tel Aviv, and probably Washington and Moscow," Mr Tuomioja wrote in a comment in Hufvudstadsbladet, the biggest Swedish language daily in Finland.

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"The problem with the EU foreign policy is not the lack of openness, but its false transparency" reads the exceptionally outspoken piece titled: "False transparency".

He went on to write that the leaks have a negative effect on the EU's foreign policy capabilities and encourage member states to act outside the EU's formal decision-making structure.

"This is problematic for the Union as a whole, but particularly harmful to the smaller member states", he wrote.

The very first weeks of the Finnish EU presidency have been extraordinarily busy for Mr Tuomioja with the crisis in Libanon exploding just days after he took over responsibility for the bloc's foreign policy.

In the article, Mr Tuomioja lambasted EU ministers for acting in their national interests and for preparing for EU summits as if they were "entering difficult negotiations with potentially hostile countries."

He also criticised EU officials for giving comments to media prematurely and for giving "highly coloured and nationally conflicting accounts of how the decisions were reached, which many ministers often have a hard time recognizing as descriptions of the meetings they attended."

"It would do wonders to the EU's morale, credibility and effectiveness if ministers were to come to EU meetings with a sense of common purpose and not primarily to collect domestic credits as defined by their national press," he wrote.

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