Thursday

22nd Oct 2020

Danish parliament to vote on Palestine recognition

  • The parties behind the motion have just 25 out of 179 seats in the Folketinget (Photo: Peter Leth)

Danish MPs are to vote on a resolution instructing the government to recognise Palestine, but Denmark's foreign minister says the time is not right.

The motion was introduced by deputies from three small left-wing parties: the Red-Green Alliance; the Socialist People’s Party; and Greenland’s Inuit Ataqatigiit.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“The parliament directs the government to recognise Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within pre-1967 borders and, by extension, [to] provide the state of Palestine with full diplomatic rights”, the draft text says.

The Danish assembly is to hold a first debate on 11 December and to vote on a final text in early January.

Holger K. Nielsen, one of the MPs behind the initiative, doesn’t fancy its chances.

“I don’t think we’ll get a majority, but at least we’ll have a good discussion”, he told EUobserver on Monday (24 November).

He noted that if it does get through, the government is not legally obliged to comply but would find it “impossible” to say No in political terms.

Nielsen, a former foreign minister, said he was “inspired” by Sweden’s recent decision to recognise Palestine.

He added that EU recognitions could be “a tool” to help restart peace talks: “It would give the Palestinians a better position in the negotiations, or, at least, a less unequal position”.

But Denmark’s current foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, disagrees.

“The positions of member states [on Palestine recogntion] are evolving. This, in my view, makes sense as the peace process is not showing any progress”, he told this website.

“Denmark will also come to recognise Palestine, but the timing has to be right”.

He urged the EU to take joint steps against Israeli settlements instead.

“Israel continues to, unacceptably, expand the illegal settlements and thus de facto undermines the possibilities for a two-state solution", he said.

"The chances of bringing together the EU and actually influencing the conflict would be greater if we consider further action against the settlements”.

For its part, Israel says settlements are “not a hurdle” to peace.

It also says European recognitions harm the peace process.

Michal Weiler-Tal, a spokeswoman for Israel’s EU embassy, told EUobserver: “Recognition at this stage without direct talks between the two sides only pushes them further apart … it [sends] the wrong message - that negotiations are futile”.

“This damages the EU image in Israeli public opinion”.

The Danish resolution comes amid a series of similar votes in Europe.

The British, Irish, and Spanish parliaments recently urged their governments to recognise Palestine.

The European Parliament will vote on Thursday, while French MPs are to vote on Friday or next Tuesday (2 December).

Echoing Lidegaard, one EU diplomat told this website that even if other EU governments follow Sweden it is unlikely to have much impact.

“There was a lot of excitement back in the 1980s when [the late Palestinian leader] Arafat was threatening to proclaim a unilateral declaration of independence [UDI]”, the diplomat said.

“More than 130 countries have now recognised Palestine. But little has changed on the ground, and the whole UDI issue has lost significance”.

Column

A 'geopolitical' EU Commission. Great idea - but when?

Safeguarding Europe's position starts with recognising the unpleasant reality that Europe's power is waning. Behind the facade of European cooperation, national self-interest still predominates and that has never been any different.

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  2. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  3. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups
  4. France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder
  5. All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter
  6. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  7. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  8. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us