Thursday

19th Sep 2019

EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine

  • The Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem - where Donald Trump has already relocated the US embassy to Israel. (Photo: Hadar)

A little-known diplomat and a mid-ranking official will represent the EU at the launch of a grand US peace plan for the Middle East this week.

Susanna Terstal, an EU "special representative" on the Middle East peace process, and Michael Miller, a head of unit at the European Commission, are to attend the US event in Bahrain on Tuesday (25 June) and Wednesday on behalf of EU institutions, EU sources told this website.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The EU foreign service declined to confirm or deny the information.

But an EU spokesperson said the "EU's attendance will be at a technical level" and that "our participation at the workshop in Manama does not infringe on any of [our] very clear commitments" on creating a Palestinian state.

Terstal is a former Dutch ambassador to Iran and Angola who was appointed to her EU post last September.

She has made a handful of Middle East trips, but kept a low profile, and her post exists outside the EU foreign service's normal hierarchy.

Miller will represent the commission's enlargement and neighbourhood directorate, which is a big aid donor in the region, but his post lies two levels below the EU commissioner in charge, Johannes Hahn.

The Bahrain event will see the White House launch the economic part of what US president Donald Trump has called his "deal of the century" on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

It is meant to unlock $50bn (€44bn) of investment, including $5bn of infrastructure projects in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, in what Trump's son-in-law and aide Jared Kushner called the "opportunity of the century" last week.

But Palestine and some Arab states have boycotted it due to concerns that Trump wants to kick Palestinian statehood into the long grass.

And the EU's low-key participation at Tuesday's meeting indicated that it shared those concerns.

"The workshop in Manama is meant to present and explain the economic part of the plan in details to those that have been invited to attend. The EU will attend to better understand what is in it, without any commitment from our side to support it or participate in it," the EU spokesperson told EUobserver.

"The EU's position remains centred on our firm commitment to a negotiated two-state solution," the spokesperson said.

"As we speak, the situation on the ground deteriorates, increasing the risk of violence and further entrenching a one-state reality," the spokesperson added, referring to Israeli settlement expansion.

An EU source said the US economic plan also had other flaws.

"The [US] plan ... includes numerous existing or already proposed projects including for instance EU's financed Greater Gaza desalination plant," the source said.

"There is no indication as to where the money would come from and who would implement the projects. Also no mention of the existing impediments to the implementation of these proposals," the source added.

Analysis

How should the EU handle Russia now?

Should West help Russian opposition in its struggle against the regime, or make new deals with Putin, as France is keen to do?

Central European leaders demand Balkan EU accession

Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have demanded to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania this year, as Hungary's man prepares to take over the enlargement portfolio.

News in Brief

  1. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  2. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  3. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  4. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  5. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  6. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution
  7. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  8. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously consider' leaving

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  2. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  3. A new Commission for the one percent
  4. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  5. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  6. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  7. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  8. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us