Thursday

11th Aug 2022

Netherlands blasts Solana on alleged cartoon apologies

The Netherlands has sharply criticised EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana for the allegedly apologetic tone he has used when facing muslim countries in the row over Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.

Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot has put in a protest to Mr Solana objecting to remarks he made last week during his tour around muslim countries, a Dutch spokesman confirmed.

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

  • Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot has protested over Mr Solana's apologetic tone (Photo: Dutch EU Presidency)

Among other things, the EU's top foreign policy official said after meeting the leader of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIS), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu "I expressed our sincere regret that religious feelings have been hurt", vowing "to reach out...to make sure that people’s hearts and minds are not hurt again."

Dutch daily De Telegraaf quotes the Dutch state secretary for European Affairs Atzo Nicolai as characterising the tone used by Mr Solana as "shocking."

Speaking at a political debate on Monday (20 February) Mr Nicolai said "He has toured around in order to offer apologies. On behalf of whom, I ask. You and me? We haven't drawn those cartoons."

The Netherlands is also deeply unhappy with a joint statement issued on 7 February by Mr Solana on behalf of the EU together with the OIS leader and UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

One passage of the statement says that "The anguish in the muslim world at the publication of these offensive caricatures is shared by all individuals and communities who recognise the sensitivity of deeply held religious belief."

The OIC is pushing for the United Nations to adopt a reference against blasphemy in the tenets of a new human rights body.

Mr Solana last week after meeting Mr Ihsanoglu signalled the EU might be supportive of this idea, stating "We are working on some ideas. I cannot be very precise, but we are working on some ideas that maybe it is possible to get through," according to Reuters.

Deutsche Welle quoted Mr Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach as saying "They want mechanisms to guarantee this is not repeated and we should be able to find it in UN conventions on human rights."

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

A possible deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact is within reach, says the European Union. Washington backs the final proposals, but Tehran remains cautious.

Opinion

Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter

Dr Ming-Yen Tsai, head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, responds to EUobserver op-ed on Taiwan by the Chinese ambassador to Belgium. "Taiwan is an 'island of resilience'. That will continue to be the case."

Opinion

Supporting Taiwan 'like carrying water in a sieve'

China's ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, says the US has been distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the 'one-China' principle and unscrupulously undermining China's core interests. This is sheer double standards and a shameful act of bad faith.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  2. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive
  3. Another migrant tragedy claims 50 lives in Greek waters
  4. Russia hits area near town with 120 rockets, says Ukraine
  5. UN expects more ships to get Ukrainian grain out
  6. Greece to end bailout-era oversight
  7. Denmark to train Ukrainian soldiers in urban warfare
  8. Russian helicopter flies into Estonia's airspace

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  2. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  3. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia
  4. EU Commission shrugs off Polish threats on rule-of-law
  5. EU urged to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians
  6. Russia puts EU in nuclear-energy paradox
  7. Almost two-thirds of Europe in danger of drought
  8. West needs to counter Russia in Africa, but how?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us