EU WARNS ISRAEL
As AFP reported on December 3, “The EU delivered a stern warning to Israel, declaring that its security barrier ‘must not invade’ Palestinian territory.” The article continued: “While Israel’s ‘fundamental’ security needs were obvious, ‘the route of the wall must not invade Palestinian territory,’ … [Italy’s Foreign Minister] Franco Frattini [said]. ‘We have repeated that frankly and many times to our Israeli friends,’ he added.”
Although a meeting of the European Foreign Affairs Ministers of last Friday and Saturday in Naples, Italy, did not reach agreement on the final wording of the European Constitution in such areas as voting powers and a reference to Christian heritage in the Constitution, much was accomplished during the meeting. As AP reported on November 29, “A plan by France, Britain and Germany to craft an INDEPENDENT MILITARY ROLE FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION while keeping NATO as the continent’s primary defender WON BROAD SUPPORT Saturday from foreign ministers meeting to draft a new EU constitution.” The article continued:
“The plan would create a planning and command cell for the EU at NATO’S military headquarters in southern Belgium… The draft text reads: ‘If a member state is the victim of an armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall give it aid and assistance by all the means of their power.'”
Donald Rumsfeld criticized this proposal. The United States is very skeptical regarding the European desires for an independent army. As Der Spiegel Online reported on December 1, 2003, German Foreign Minister Peter Struck rejected Mr. Rumsfeld’s concerns, stating that the proposal intends to”strengthen the European pillar of NATO. The proposal does not intend to compete with NATO, but it is an addition.”
EU CONSTITUTION IN DOUBT?
As AP reported on November 29, “[fifteen] foreign ministers facing a deadline in two weeks for a final draft European Union constitution must still decide whether it should provide for a foreign minister or mention God when the expanded grouping [of ten new member states] enters the world stage [next May].” If the charter would be agreed on during the next summit in Brussels on December 12 and 13, it would take effect January 1, 2005. As Zenit reported on November 26, “at least eight countries — Spain, Italy, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — of the 25 that will make up the European Union beginning next May are calling for the introduction of a reference to Christianity in the preamble of the future Constitution. The Pope has voiced his support for this proposal repeatedly. France and Belgium have rejected the proposal.”
Another hurdle is the allocation of voting power. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in November: “You can’t just go and give 82 million Germans 29 votes, and then give a combined 80 million Poles and Spaniards 54 votes.” On foreign policy, Great Britain objects to the title of foreign minister, arguing it suggests a European super-state.
FISCHER PREDESTINED TO BE EU FOREIGN MINISTER?
As euobserver.com reported on December 1, 2003, “the current German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer is ‘pre-destined’ to be the EU’s first Foreign Minister, according to close friend and colleague Daniel Cohn-Bendit.” The article quoted Cohn-Bendit as saying, “You can hear it all over Europe.” He predicted that once Schroeder and Fischer win the next German elections in 2006, thereby guaranteeing Fischer’s continued post as German Foreign Minister, Fischer could then go to Brussels. Der Spiegel Online reported that, according to close friends of Fischer, Fischer never gave up his goal to become EU Foreign Minister.
US ANTI-TERRORISM PROGRAM ENDED
As USA Today reported on December 2, 2003, “The Bush administration is ending an anti-terrorism program that required tens of thousands of foreigners to register and stay in contact with the government while visiting the USA. The program, created after the 2001 terrorist attacks, required men and boys from 25 mostly Middle Eastern countries to re-register after 30 days and again one year after arrival.”
Those 25 countries are:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The article pointed out the relative failure of this program, as follows: “But critics noted that would-be terrorists were least likely to register with the government and get fingerprinted and photographed. And on Monday, Asa Hutchinson, the Department of Homeland Security’s border and transportation chief, acknowledged that no ‘national security leads’ came out of it.” In addition, the negative side-effects of the program were described as follows:
“Of the 83,519 visitors registered since November 2002, nearly 14,000 were told to appear in court. Officials said most of those likely will be deported for minor visa violations.”
Beginning in January, the US government will enforce a new “entry-exit program for visitors” at airports and seaports nationwide. According to the article, “visitors with visas will be digitally photographed and fingerprinted. Those who would have been required to register under the old program [men and boys from 25 mostly Middle Eastern countries, listed above] will be put through a second, more detailed round of questioning.”