The growing support for Palestinian statehoodExternal Relations 17 November 2014
As soon as the new social-democratic cabinet settled in Stockholm, Swedish Foreign Minister decided to recognize a state of Palestine; an unprecedented move, as it is the first time a Member State takes this initiative after having joined the EU.
This drive is also symptomatic of the rising wave of support for Palestinian statehood. Only two weeks earlier the British Parliament widely-approved a motion with the same aim, and similar votes are expected notably in France, Finland, Denmark and Ireland. While not-binding, the outcome of the British vote holds a significant value in light of the UK permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
The UN General Assembly already upgraded Palestine status to “non-member observer State” in 2012, following Abu Mazen failed attempt in securing the Security Council support for a “full membership” against USA opposition. The latter option would have entitled Palestinians with sovereignty over occupied territories, currently interested by the scaling up of Israeli settlements.
This practice has been condemned for a long-time by the EU, which also continues to add pressure for a two-state solution in Middle East. Even though the EU has always declared to be ready for the recognition of Palestine “when appropriate” since 1999’s “Berlin Declaration”, Europe has maintained an overall prudent approach to avoid jeopardizing the fragile equilibria of international engagements.
If the recent growing trend will effectively determine a policy change, Europe may undergo a revival of Kosovo’s case, with the EU recognition against some Member States denial. An imperfect balance, yet enabler of a more assertive stance, as increasingly advocated throughout Europe.