The Czech Republic has rejected to fulfil the function of the Presidency during the United Nation's Durban II conference on racism. That is another shortcoming in a Council Presidency that has been marked by problems from its very first days.
Allow me just to quote Jean Quatremer (own translation):
"This story is incredible and without precedent: Monday evening, in Geneva, on the first day of the UN conference against racism, better known under its name Durban II, the Czech ambassador announces to his consternated European partners that he has received the instruction from Prague to withdraw from the conference after the anti-Semitic proposals of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (during his speech, the Europeans have left the room like one single person, while Turkey, a candidate country, remained on his seat).This is a shocking story, and having seen EU co-ordination meetings on an international level from both sides, that of an upcoming and of an acting EU-Council Presidency, I can quite well imagine how this unfriendly act by the Czech representative (i.e. his government) might have been felt by his colleagues.
The 23 EU member states present are perplex: «you cannot do this unilaterally, you are exercising the Presidency of the Union» they are claiming towards him. «Let's discuss it first, it's not on Iran to chase us away». Without result. The Czech ambassador leaves the room. Everybody turns around to his Swedish colleague whose country will run the EU Council Presidency from the 1st of July. Right away, he accepts to take the lead from the Czech. «He has co-ordinated the European position and we have then been able to make a declaration in the name of the EU», tells a diplomate. [...]"
Therefore, let me just say:
Dear Czech government, you are free to handle your internal affairs however you want, but while running the EU-Council Presidency, there is just one goal that should lead your actions on the international level: That our Union of 27 states is represented in the most credible, professional, and reliable way, and not like a Union of amateurism and national egos.
What has happened in Geneva is absolutely disgraceful!
On the topic: The Falling European Leadership by The European Citizen