MEPs to Vote on Recognising Palestine as a ‘State’

MEPs to Vote on Recognising Palestine as a ‘State’

Euro MPs are set to vote to recognise the state of Palestine in a move designed to put pressure on EU member nations to do the same.

The movement to recognise Palestine as a state has been gaining ground on the continent since Sweden decided to officially recognise it on 30 October this year.

The proposal was made by French Socialist MEP Gilles Pargneaux who called the debate in the Strasbourg parliament “a first and historic event”, according to Euractiv.

The radical left group, the GUE/NGL, which includes three Sinn Fein MEPs, is set to support the motion. The group were part of a delegation to the region in September who met with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Knesset. The group released a statement saying, “the European Parliament has a duty to recognise Palestine as various EU national parliaments are doing”.

Following Sweden’s lead, the British House of Commons also adopted a motion asking the government to recognise Palestine in October, followed by the Spanish and Irish parliaments. A similar motion is being put forward by the Socialists in Paris.

The new High Representative, Frederica Mogherini, a former Italian Communist who has been photographed with Yasser Arafat, said she would be “happy if the state of Palestine existed within [her] term in office”.

The pro-Palestine attitude of the EU is well documented and it has been plotting such a move in secret meetings, which we reported on last month.

A statement by the External Action Service revealed developing tensions with Israel, warning that “…future developments of relations between the EU and Israel will depend on the latter’s engagement towards a lasting peace based on a two state solution

“If this resolution is adopted, it will be a big step for Europe towards the recognition of the state of Palestine, even if the European Parliament does not have the power to make decisions about foreign affairs,” Pargneaux said.

But some groups have yet to decide which way they will vote, with a spokesman from the EFDD saying they will “probably abstain” and the Liberals and centre-right EPP still undecided.

Although EU Parliament resolutions are not legislative, they are a way for MEPs to demonstrate the feeling of the Parliament. Often they are used as a bell weather to gauge the strength of feeling on a particular issue before the Commission proposes an actual law. They are also used by campaigning groups as a way of lobbying their MEPs to push for action on a particular issue, such as live animal transportation or GM crops.

“I think the resolution has a good chance of being adopted” said the author. “And if a certain number of member states support it, the Council will have to move.”

Within the EU, support for a recognised Palestinian state is strongest in the East of the bloc, among countries such as Poland, Romania and Slovakia.