• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Curious Frog on the Pond

The News: Reporting from Vienna on the Austrian elections [ link] , BBC interviewed Andreas Moelzer, the right wing Freedom Party's candidate after a speech in which he complained about "asylum seekers who never go home, scrounging foreigners and an overcentralised, meddling Brussels." Moelzer told BBC that "the claim by his political opponents after his party ran an advertisement opposing Israeli entry to the EU, that the Freedom Party is anti-Semitic" was "nonsense…"

The Note: Uh....what was that again? Opposing Israeli entry into EU? The geography is a tad off, isn't it? Apparently not. According to the European Union's official site,

"The Action Plan concluded with Israel helped give new energy and focus to EU-Israel relations. Its objective is to gradually integrate Israel into European policies and programmes. Every step taken is determined by both sides and the Action Plan is tailor-made to reflect Israel’s interests and priorities as well as its level of development." [link ]
Whew!!! Well that's a relief. I was worried that the EU would do something stupid and manifestly racist by tailoring steps to suit European interests.

The Euro-Mediterranean Agreement, signed in 1995 between Israel and the then members states of the European Union established "an association" between the members states and Israel in order " to establish lasting relations, based on reciprocity and partnership, and promote a further integration of Israel's economy into the European economy." To that end, the agreement promoted free trade, political coordination and security cooperation between the Jewish European Outpost in the Middle East (JErOME) and EU member states.

Well now... BBC may have been prophetically jumping the gun. The Euro-Mediterranan treaty doesn't quite provide for "union" .... but then again neither did the Treaty of Rome.

Left unclear was why Algeria, Tunnis, Morroco, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey were not invited as well. Aren't they too frogs around the pond?