Wednesday 13 August 2008

EU Council on Georgia: Weak conclusions (updated, 2x)

So far I only have the French version of the conclusions of the EU Council on Georgia [update: now they have been published also in English]. But they are massively weak. They are the smallest common denominator, as I have expected.

Georgia and Russia are barely mentioned in the text: The Russians shall go back to where they were before and the Georgians, too. The crisis is humanitarian in first place and the EU has to think about the reconstruction. There has to be an unspecified international mechanism to resolve the conflict. But no direct criticism of either side.

And Georgia's territorial integrity is referred to without directly mentioning Georgia (and/or its breakaway regions) in the same sub-clause with "territorial integrity":
"Une solution pacifique et durable des conflits en Georgie doit être fondée sur le plein respect des principes d'indépendance, de souveraineté et d'intégrité territoriale reconnus par le droit international et les résolutions du Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies."
From my own experience in diplomatic negotiations, this paragraph looks like a clear compromise between Eastern and Western EU countries, the former asking for a strong wording and the latter weakening this by putting the name to a place without direct linguistic connection, arguing that everybody knows what is meant by this.

And while some sources write that the EU wants to send a monitoring mission to Georgia, the conclusions only state that "the Council considers to engage, also on the ground, to support the efforts of the UNO and OSCE". "Considering" in diplomatic terms means that this issue remains on the agenda, not more and not less.

Altogether, this whole things looks pretty worthless as the result of an urgent EU Council meeting.


If you look at the participation list, it is interesting to see that, as the only country, the United Kinddom participated with two ministers (David Miliband and Jim Murphy) in the meeting. Malta only sent a diplomat, which usually indicates that members of the government or their deputes had better things to do...


Anonymous said...

thanks Julien, very useful summing up and "translation"