Sunday, September 26, 2004

Italy and Germany at odds over UN council

If anyone thought the EU was smooth sailing, think again.

First, it was the constitution, then the banking rules and subsidies, and now this.

If the patchwork EU fails, look for a new realignment with the US. If Former allies Italy and Germany are publicly feuding, on can only imagine how the French will chime in.

I'll have more to say on these matters tomorrow.

Italy and Germany at odds over UN council seat

Germany and Italy locked horns yesterday after the government of Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, opposed Berlin's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, accused Germany, supposedly one of the country's closest allies, of trying to divide Europe with its request for a seat by putting its national interests first.

"I will not accept competition based around national interests. That risks dividing Europe," he told the Italian newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica.

Mr Frattini's comments appeared to be a response to a statement on Saturday by his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer, who said he found Italy's opposition to Germany's bid illogical and, rather than campaigning against it, Italy should itself lobby for a place.

"I don't understand the position," Mr Fischer added. "But I say sincerely, be a candidate yourself. It would be loyal competition between countries that are friends and allies."

With Brazil, India and Japan, Germany is campaigning for a permanent seat on a restructured council giving wider representation.

The four countries have agreed to work together in pursuit of their goal, but there has been opposition from neighbouring states including Mexico, Pakistan, China and Italy.

Germany's aspirations for permanent seat are being presented by Berlin as a sign of the times.

The UN was established after the Second World War when Germany was considered a pariah state. But the government's quest has split opinion in Germany.

The former chancellor Helmut Schmidt said it was "not in Germany's interest to be involved in major decisions concerning war and peace and having to take responsibility for those decisions."

Wandering Mind

may not be suitable for political vegans