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Europe's Dissenting Voice on Egypt

Europe's Dissenting Voice on Egypt

Apparently should have included this image in my previous post. The New York Times and LeMonde both came out yesterday with stories depicting “divisions” among European leaders on Egypt following Friday’s Brussels summit. But a close reading of the reports shows it is apparently just one leader who can’t quite fall in line and call for a winding down of Mubarak’s regime.

“[There could be] in Egypt a transition towards a more democratic system, without a rupture, with a president like Mubarak who, for all the West starting with the United States, has always been considered a wise man and a point of reference,” said Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi.

That’s it. He’s the only one.

You could argue that since his country is closet geographically to Egypt among Europe’s heavier hitters, Italy would have the most to lose if there were increased disorder.  And given his current standing, I suppose he has nothing to lose in speaking his mind.

But given how far it still must go to overcome the dissension caused by the economic crisis, Europe cannot afford to tolerate any additional and unnecessary disunion.

The two stories, especially the Times’, also highlight the trouble Catherine Ashton has experienced in making her voice heard. This seems to have been an issue for some time and is not likely to have immediate consequences. But here again, at a moment where the idea of a unified Europe must work to regain credibility, having the first High Representative for Foreign Affairs consistently seem flat-footed is yet another chit for Eurodoubters.

Bonus link: As I finished this entry, I came across this story, which I wasn’t aware of previously. I’m just going to post it here without comment — I think it speaks for itself:

“Police officer says Italian PM’s office contacted station to claim Moroccan dancer was Egyptian president’s granddaughter” [Link]