Monday

16th May 2022

Fischer's bid for EU foreign affairs job in doubt

The crisis in Iraq has seriously damaged Joschka Fischer's chances to become the first EU foreign affairs minister, Financial Times Deutschland writes in an editorial today.

According to the newspaper, it is not a matter of whether Germany was "on the right front side" with its position over war in Iraq. The problem is that the German Foreign Affairs minister seemed unable to even decide what the position should be.

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This should not be a feature of the future EU foreign affairs minister, the German newspaper adds.

Allegations that German Foreign affairs minister could chair a new EU foreign affairs post within a new power structure in Brussels are nothing new. In the political circles of Berlin it is almost decided that Joschka Fischer should fill the post, that has not yet been established.

The Convention on the Future of Europe is discussing the proposal to create a chair of common EU foreign minister, merging the current separate roles performed by the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana and external relations Commissioner Chris Patten.

Financial Times Deutschland writes that the German Chancellor would like to see Mr Fischer chairing the common EU foreign policy because that would increase a German role in the international arena where "German leaders have less posts than the French or British". According to the newspaper, Great Britain and Poland have also given signals that they could support Mr Fischer's nomination.

However, Mr Fischer will not be the only candidate for the post as the debate on the matter continues. One serious competitor could be the Greek Foreign Affairs minister George Papandreou.

UK says 'no choice but to act' over post-Brexit trade rules

British foreign secretary Liz Truss said the UK has "no choice but to act" on the Northern Ireland protocol governing post-Brexit trade during a call with EU Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič — who warned unilateral action was "simply not acceptable".

UK threatens to scrap post-Brexit trade deal

The UK rejected proposals by the EU to tweak the protocol governing trade in Northern Ireland, and has threatened to suspend the rules as loyalists lost their majority in the Northern Ireland elections.

Syria donor conference shuns Russia

Russia was not invited to an international donor conference on Syria in Brussels given its war in Ukraine. Moscow had also recently threatened to veto a humanitarian corridor from Turkey to Syria.

Opinion

Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?

Valdimir Putin's equivalent to Nato — the Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus — is convening in Moscow next week to give cover that Russia is not alone in its war against Ukraine.

Opinion

Is EU 'Horizon' science funding going towards Pegasus spyware?

MEPs have raised questions about the involvement of the EU — through its funding — in the development of the Israeli NSO Pegasus software, directly or indirectly, which has been used to target activists and journalists in Europe.

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