Payer or Player? The Role of the European Union in the Middle East Peace Process
- Art: Magisterarbeit
- Autor: Steffen Schulz
- Abgabedatum: Oktober 2001
- Umfang: 88 Seiten
- Dateigröße: 661,8 KB
- Note: 1,0
- Institution / Hochschule: University of Bath Großbritannien
- ISBN (eBook): 978-3-8324-5397-8
ISBN (Paperback) :
- ISBN (CD) :978-3-8324-5397-8 CD
- Sprache: Englisch
- Arbeit zitieren: Schulz, Steffen Oktober 2001: Payer or Player? The Role of the European Union in the Middle East Peace Process, Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag
- Schlagworte: Europäische Union, Palestina, Israel, Nahost Friedensprozeß
Magisterarbeit von Steffen Schulz
„The Union's position and role: Promoter of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and of prosperity for the region; Key player in the political and economic process” (The European Union on its Middle East policy web site).
This way of portraying itself does not leave any doubt about the position and role of the European Union (EU) in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In practice, however, the EU does not appear to be very influential in the region. So far all treaties and agreements concerning the Middle East peace process have been achieved under the mediation and sometimes the intervention of the United States (U.S.). Europe has usually watched these political developments from the sidelines.
That does not mean that in this region Europe has no role at all. The EU is involved in the peace process – not in the political, however, but in the economic part. Since the Oslo-agreement in 1993 European money has kept the quasi-state of the Palestinians alive and thus the EU is usually perceived as payer but not as player in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
At the moment, however, in which the situation in the Middle East is characterised by violent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis and in which there is the widespread assumption that the peace process is on the brink of disaster, there are growing demands that Europe should also play a greater political role in the region. Indeed, in recent weeks Europe has appeared as a mediator between Israelis and Palestinians. In the name of Europe the German foreign minister Joschka Fischer has acted twice as a mediator between both conflict parties. Particularly the Arabs and Palestinians want the EU to get involved more strongly in the peace process. They perceive America, which is doubtlessly the most powerful actor in the conflict, as biased and more in favour of Israel and therefore they hope that Europe could be a kind of ‘counterweight’ to the U.S Against this background it has to be asked whether the European Union would be able to play a major political role so that one could speak about Europe not only as payer but also as player in the peace process?
In order to answer this question it is firstly necessary to examine the main aspects that determine the capabilities and limits of the European Union in international affairs. One of the main factors in this respect is doubtlessly the concept of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the institutional framework which is set by this concept and so the first section of chapter one will deal with this aspect. Secondly, it is important to look how the member states’ attitudes are towards CFSP because foreign affairs are still a vital part of their national sovereignty. Finally the third section of chapter one will look at how the relations are between Europe and America because the U.S. as a major player on the world’s stage and as the closest European ally has certainly a strong impact on European affairs.
From the European point of view the Middle East as a part of the Mediterranean region is in its direct neighbourhood and therefore of special importance. Indeed over the time Europe developed a close relationship to the countries around the Mediterranean basin. For this reason chapter two will examine the European Mediterranean policy and its links to the Middle East peace process.
As mentioned above Europe has not had a strong political role in the Middle East yet, but the involvement of the EU in the region has increased over the time and especially after the beginning of the peace process at the Madrid Conference in 1991, Europe has become important as aid donor and financial contributor of the peace process. Thus chapter three will deal with the European involvement in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict in depth.
Furthermore it is also important for a comprehensive analysis to examine the relations in the conflict between the European Union and the other major actors. These are the United States, Israel and the Palestinians and so chapter four will investigate the relationship between the EU and these players. This chapter will especially focus on how these actors assess a stronger political role of the Europeans.
Finally the conclusion will on the one hand give an answer to the question mentioned above and on the other hand try to outline some important aspects of a future European Middle East policy.
But before going on with the analysis, it seems to be appropriate to determine the geographical region that this paper deals with – the "Middle East". There is no single definition (not to speak of the ‘right’ definition) of that term. For some analysts the ‘Middle East’ even starts in Morocco in the West and ends in India in the East.7 This paper, however, refers to the ‘Middle East’ in connection with the Arab-Israeli conflict and here, therefore, ‘the Middle East’ includes only Israel with the occupied territories, the Westbank and Gaza Strip area and the surrounding countries Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
Table of Contents:
|THE EUROPEAN UNION IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS||7|
|THE EU AS AN INTERNATIONAL ACTOR||7|
|THE MEMBER STATES AND THE EU FOREIGN POLICY||11|
|U.S. RELATIONS WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION||14|
|THE MEDITERRANEAN POLICY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION||17|
|ON THE WAY TO BARCELONA: THE EU POLICY BEFORE 1995||17|
|THE 'EURO-MEDITERRANEAN PARTNERSHIP'||20|
|THE 'BARCELONA-PROCESS' SINCE 1995||22|
|THE ROLE OF THE EU IN THE PEACE PROCESS||26|
|ON THE WAY TO OSLO: EUROPE'S POLICY BEFORE 1993||26|
|AFTER OSLO: EUROPE'S ROLE IN THE PEACE PROCESS SINCE 1993||26|
|RELATIONS BETWEEN INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ACTORS||42|
|THE U.S., EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS||42|
|ISRAEL, EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS||42|
|PALESTINIANS, EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS||48|
|THE EUROPEAN UNION AS A LIMITED PLAYER||57|
ian violence within Israel had taken place. This had the effect that the Palestinian economic situation was getting worse day by day. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are both heavily dependent on Israel – as a workplace, as a business partner and as an import/export route. Hence with every day when the borders were closed the Palestinians suffered more and more. The demand for more aid was growing and as Europe was financing the peace process it was on them to deliver this aid.54 In the long term the effects of the Israeli closures were devastating as Tomas Dupla del Moral, the Commission official in charge of the Mashrek and Israel within the EMP, noted: ‘despite the fact that aid to the Palestinians is the highest in the world in per capita terms, what has been achieved during the last five years [from 1994-99, S. S.] in terms of the Palestinians’ per capita income is a decrease of over 30%’.55 Because of the deep financial and economical involvement – its role as ‘paymaster’ of the peace process – the situation was different to the 1980s. Instead of only sticking to the old ‘declaration policy’ the EU tried to find a new path. It appointed a special European Union envoy to deal with the peace process – the then Spanish ambassador to Israel Miguel Moratinos. Although this appointment was a clear sign that Europe wanted to play a greater role it was not quite clear what role the special envoy should have. The Joint Action which gave Moratinos’ mandate stated that his tasks were ‘(1) to establish and maintain close contact with all the parties to the peace process, other countries of the region, the United States and other interested countries (…) in order to work with them in strengthening the peace process; (2) to observe peace negotiations between the parties, and to be ready to offer the European Union's advice (…); (3) to contribute where requested to the implementation of international agreements reached between parties, and to engage with them diplomatically in the event of noncompliance with the terms of these agreements; (4) to engage constructively with signatories to agreements within the framework of the peace process in order to promote compliance with the basic norms of democracy, including respect for human rights and the rule of law; (5) to monitor actions by either side which might prejudice the outcome of the permanent status negotiations’.56 [...]
and about the clause that negotiations concerning this question should not start later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period’.27 This period started with the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area. With this withdrawal certain powers, including health, education, and social affairs were to be transferred to the Palestinians, who would begin to build up a police force. The jurisdiction of the Palestinians would cover the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, except for issues that were to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, including Jerusalem, refugees, Israeli settlements, security arrangements and borders.28 Although finally signed in Washington this declaration gave the Europeans a sense of satisfaction because the agreement was not only the outcome of negotiations in Europe but also because it was based on principles which the Europeans had been advocating since 1980, as outlined first in their Venice Declaration, namely the recognition of the PLO as Palestinian representative. One has to say, however, that the EC had only limited momentum to bring the Israelis and the PLO together. Instead the Non-EC member Norway, that had good relations with both sides, acted as ‘honest-broker’. Moreover, for the Israelis the fact was very important that Norway was not in the EC because the Community ‘was perceived by Israel as part of the problem and not as part of the solution’.29 Nevertheless after the Oslo agreement there was a great policy convergence between America and Europe. The U.S. accepted what Europeans had insisted on for more then a decade and Israel did what Europe had long advised to do, so there was no reason for disputes, especially as long as the peace process moved forward.30 And in fact the peace process made progress: in April 1994 both sides signed in Paris a ‘Protocol on Economic Relations’ and only a week later in Cairo the ‘Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area’.31 In September of the same year eventually Israel and Jordan signed a peace Treaty.32 [...]
ahead at the same time. The aim of these talks was to bring together Israel and its Arab neighbours to address issues of mutual concern. In five working groups the participants examined different economic, social, and environmental issues, which extended across national boundaries and which had to be resolved to guarantee longterm peace and development. These multilateral talks were also seen as a means to demonstrate that all parties, notwithstanding the huge differences in their respective interests, were able to talk with each other, that they were willing to end the ArabIsraeli conflict, and that it was necessary to draw the international community into the peace process to reach a lasting settlement of the conflict. With a pragmatic view the international community was furthermore seen as essential as contributor to the financial resources needed to support a peace settlement.25 Within the international community the EU was seen as the main financial contributor and so Europe was responsible for the main working group during the talks, which was the ‘Regional Economic Development Working Group’ (REDWG). In this group, which reflected most fully the general goals of the talks, the EU – as the so-called ‘Gavel-Holder’ – above all developed and promoted ideas of economic cooperation. Yet, just before the group met for the fourth round in Copenhagen an event occurred that gave the whole peace process a new dynamic and that let Europe suddenly appear at the centre of it. In September 1993 it emerged that Israelis and Palestinians had conducted secret talks under Norwegian auspices in Oslo, which led to a declaration of principles on Palestinian self-rule.26 [...]