OpinionMeister

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Czechs 1 - Spain 0

The Prague Post reports on a diplomatic victory over Spain in an EU policy debate. Link.
In their first foreign-policy victory since joining the EU, Czech officials in Brussels have blocked a proposed ban on inviting Cuban dissidents to receptions at European embassies in Havana.

The ban would have suspended a 2003 resolution that called on EU countries to support anti-Castro dissidents by inviting them to parties celebrating national holidays.

Spain proposed the ban as part of a package of measures -- including the resumption of EU missions to Cuba -- designed to ease tensions with Havana. It became a sticking point when the Czechs threatened to use their veto in the 25-member Council of Foreign Ministers, where unanimity is required on policy decisions.

The "Cocktail Wars," as one paper dubbed them, ended Jan. 31 when Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda convinced other ministers to remove the ban during a closed-door lunch.

It certainly makes a difference having countries in the EU who had lived under Soviet occupation and control. The West European leftists can still view communism with longing nostalgia. The East Europeans, who lived with communist tyranny, have a much more realistic view. It is no surprise that Spain's socialist government favors keeping Castro in power. After all, they favored keeping Saddam, a far more brutal tyrant, in power as well.

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