Der Tagesspiegel, 14 September 2009

EU too soft on hardline regimes

Published on 14 September 2009 at 12:43
Der Tagesspiegel, 14 September 2009


“Europe’s attempt to base foreign policy on ethical considerations is liable to come a cropper,” opines the Tagesspiegel, citing Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Libya as cases in point. Libya has huge fossil fuel deposits, of which everyone wants a piece – and human rights be damned, as long as the EU “at least makes rhetorical entreaties for respect for human rights and democratic standards in its dealings with Afghanistan and Zimbabwe”. Its timid stance on the old dictator Robert Mugabe, however, is puzzling to say the least: the EU is actually planning to re-allocate the entire development aid package earmarked for Zimbabwe, “even if human rights advocates and opposition party members are still being tortured”. As to Hamid Karzai’s administration, moreover, the EU “will have a hard time explaining why we are funding the organisation of elections in Afghanistan with European taxpayers’ money without there being the slightest consequences in the wake of widespread election fraud,” observes the Berlin daily. According to the Tagesspiegel, “in terms of realpolitik, there are clearly some good reasons for working together” with these governments, “but we should at least admit that our attempts at democratisation have failed.”

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