Palestinians continue to seek statehood for the West Bank and Gaza Strip and are intent on making Jerusalem the capital. The stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is leading to a growing sense frustration across Europe. If the talks are not re-launched, many EU States may follow Sweden’s example and commit to the recognition of a Palestine State.
Our own Seanad passed a non binding motion calling on the Government to recognise Palestine. The British parliament held an emblematic vote that recognised a Palestinian state. France also looks likely to follow. The new EU Commissioner and foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini has stated that it is her objective that by the end of this commission’s term that there will be a Palestinian state.
As one might expect, such moves are not welcomed in Israel. They say that recognition without constructive negotiations is detrimental to Israel. They say that recognition will not end the conflict and that it will be costly for Europe. Israel says that, to recognise Palestine which refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist is unacceptable. The EU seems prepared to give a lead on recognition but it will be interesting to see how the Americans play out the game.
Ireland, which regularly comes in for criticism of its taxation policy as applied to multinationals, seems to have some serious competition. This emerges from the release of secret files detailing advantages agreements between Luxembourg and many well known international businesses. The big issue that arises is that the EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker was the Prime Minister of Luxembourg between 1995 and 2013 the period most under scrutiny. When speaking in Brussels back in July Juncker, who was “working the room” in his effort to secure the Presidency, said he’d “try to put some morality, some ethics, into the European tax landscape.” If it now transpires that he was a party to these special tax deals, his position may become totally untenable. This would lead to a major crisis within the Commission.