German opposition grows to UN seat

6th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 July 2004 , BERLIN - Debate over Germany's bid to gain a permanent seat in the United Nations security council took a new twist Tuesday when two top opposition politicians spoke out against a German seat and argued instead for one European voice at the UN. One of the politicians, the deputy parliamentary floor leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Wolfgang Schaeuble, thereby put himself at odds with CDU leader Angela Merkel, who favours a permanent Security Council seat for Germany for the shor

6 July 2004

BERLIN - Debate over Germany's bid to gain a permanent seat in the United Nations security council took a new twist Tuesday when two top opposition politicians spoke out against a German seat and argued instead for one European voice at the UN.

One of the politicians, the deputy parliamentary floor leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Wolfgang Schaeuble, thereby put himself at odds with CDU leader Angela Merkel, who favours a permanent Security Council seat for Germany for the short-term.

Besides Schaeuble, the head of the small liberal Free Democrats (FDP), Guido Westerwelle, also voiced reservations about the Security Council seat bid being pursued by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Schaeuble told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that he regarded it as "backwards" and as "old thinking" the German bid for a seat.

"The future must lie in a European seat in the Security Council and not a national seat," Schaeuble told dpa.

He argued that as long as there was no European seat, then France and Britain, as the current members from Europe with veto powers, could "more strongly Europeanise" their policy and consult more with their E.U. partners.

But if Germany were to become a permanent member, "then it would trigger additional rivalries in Europe", Schaeuble warned.

Germany should be concentrating on overcoming deficiencies in the drafting of common European policy and in the "ongoing serious differences in the Atlantic alliance", the CDU foreign policy expert added.

FDP boss Westerwelle told dpa that he considered a permanent seat for Germany to be the "second-best solution". The best solution is for a European seat.

"If Europe is to stand on a common foreign policy, then it needs a common seat in the Security Council," he said.

Both Schaeuble and Westerwelle told dpa that a reform of the Security Council is long overdue.

"The Security Council in its construction reflects the end of World War Two," Schaeuble said.

Currently the five permanent members are the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China. There are 10 further two-year seats which are rotated among U.N. members but which do not have veto powers. Germany's current seat expires at the end of 2004.

CDU leader Merkel recently said she supported Schroeder's call for a permanent seat for Germany as a near-term goal. But she said a permanent European seat should be the long-term aim.

DPA

Subject: German news

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