Press release | Ukraine vs. Palestine: EU’s double standards under scrutiny at State of Europe


Brussels, 9 November 2023 – The European Union’s “double standards” vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine and the recent escalation of the Middle East conflict came under scrutiny during State of Europe, Friends of Europe’s annual high-level roundtable. Over 200 European policymakers and thought leaders gathered today in Brussels to discuss 10 policy choices for a renewed European social contract.

Addressing the complexity of the conflict in the Middle East, Federica Mogherini, Rector of the College of Europe, said she was less concerned about the issue of who speaks for the EU. “I’m personally not so worried about who speaks for Europe provided that we speak with one voice. I’m happy when we have several voices but the point is to sing the same song with different voices”, said the former high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security.

On the ongoing war in Palestine, former MEP Ana Gomes denounced the EU double standards between Ukraine and Palestine, arguing that the Union will lose credibility if it keeps “allowing Israel to make a complete joke of international law. We don’t have a moral voice in this moment”.

Ece Temelkuran, award-winning Turkish novelist, pointedly remarked the “strange times we are going through when even the voices saying children should not be killed are marginalised”.

“By not standing for human dignity and human rights, for most people outside of the EU, the EU failed in promoting its values”, alerted Jasminko Halilović, Founder and CEO of the War Childhood Museum, in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Halilović, who, as a child, lived through the Bosnian war, further warned: “Inability of speaking with one voice and deliver on its promises will have long-term implications on the [EU’s] credibility.”

We are “certainly not ready” for next crisis, says Belgium Deputy PM

Asked on a session dedicated to building the resilience of the healthcare systems if we are ready for the next crisis, Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgium Deputy Prime Minister, answered: “Slightly better prepared but certainly not ready. We should be aware that we will be confronted with major scale transnational crises much more than in the past.”

To boost resilience, Karien van Gennip, Dutch Minister for Social Affairs and Employment, said: “We need a strong and united Europe but also a strong and coherent society capable of dealing with these challenges.” The Dutch minister further warned that “our social contract is at risk. We see structural inequalities and fault lines that put pressure in our society. People feel left behind and that their interests are not taken into account.”

A Renewed Social Contract for Europe was the overarching theme of State of Europe. Friends of Europe is calling for the renewal of our social contract in order to address today’s greatest challenges and achieve real social progress on the areas of peace and security, social prosperity, sustainable economic growth, and inclusive and fair transitions.

– ENDS –

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