“Tolerance within” Dr. Ban Ki-moon makes veiled attack on France

Speaking to Members of the European Parliament today UN Chief Dr. Ban Ki-moon raised the spectre of immigration in Europe. 

“As a friend of Europe, I share profound concerns,” he told MEPs, and went on to explain that the story of the 20th Century had been the narrative of winning peace in Europe, but now that the peace was won, the 21st century was about the struggle for “tolerance within”.  Dr. Ban then said that integration and equal opportunities for different cultures were never easy but they are profoundly important. People claiming to be liberal “accuse immigrants of violating European values”, but in actuality, the accusers were the violators themselves. 

Anyone who has been reading the news in recent months will know that these comments were squarely pointed at the French government and their recent actions towards the Roma.  These controversial and by all accounts illegal actions have led to Commissioner Reding likening Sarkozy’s Roma policy to the actions of the Nazis, and have prompted an investigation by the European Union in to their legality.  It may also have been inspired by Merkel’s very troubling remarks about multiculturalism.  It is almost too predictable that in times of economic turmoil people turn on those at the fringes of society, but I would certainly have hoped that we in Europe had learnt our lessons a long time ago.  Dr. Ki-moon’s comments were very welcome by a large section of the parliament today and I hope that both Sarkozy and Merkel will hear them.

Dr Ban’s theme was that the United Nations and the European Union were natural allies.  He discussed the various ways in which we can work together to make this a better world,  focusing on the Millennium Goals which he believes are in danger of slipping from us.  I was particularly encouraged by his declaration that the Global Strategy for women and children is his number one priority, stating that “the hardest to reach people in hardest to reach places” should remain the focus of the UNs energies.

3 Comments

Filed under Labour Party

3 responses to ““Tolerance within” Dr. Ban Ki-moon makes veiled attack on France

  1. Daniel Oxley

    The UK has been fined £150 million by the EU for its failure to include the EU flag symbol on the signs for the Eden Project in Cornwall, the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead and Liverpool’s King’s Dock and for not acknowledging that the projects were part funded by the EU.

    They were not, of course, funded by the EU at all. The money was all provided by UK taxpayers. For every £2.80 we contribute to the EU’s badly managed coffers we only get about £1 back. The EU made a profit on all the projects and then scooped up again with the fines which will benefit non-contributing member states such as France.

    The draconian fines on the UK for the trivial issue of signage stand in stark contrast to the treatment of France over the infinitely worse crime of ethnic cleansing which it has committed against the Roma. All that seems to be happening to them so far has been a ticking off from Commissioner Reding and ‘an investigation by the European Union in to their legality’.

    It is easy to imagine the proceedings of the committee detailed to carry out the investigation. They will probably spin it out a bit but basically it will be something like this,
    Eurocrat No 1. What does everyone think, did they do it?
    Eurocrat No 2. Well, it would be difficult to deny it, there are scores of eye witnesses and anyway it was all on TV.
    Eurocrat No 1. So they did it?
    Eurocrat No 2. Yes.
    Eurocrat No 3. So what is the punishment, a fine?
    Eurocrat No 4. Oh no, it was the French. The most we should do is another meaningless ticking off and even that had better be reasonably mild or they will get in bad mood and the UK will have to send them yet another truckload of money to cheer them up.
    Committee Chair. Any other points? No, OK, thank you all for coming, here are your expense forms. Please send them to the UK Treasury – not the EU Finance Office, they are very busy just now. I believe they are trying to work out what they did with all the money they received back in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, etc.

    It is not that there is one rule for France and another rule for the UK. The rules are the same but the punishments only seem to apply to Great Britain.

  2. Daniel Oxley

    Update. The mild ticking off did not happen; they just cancelled the investigation into France’s treatment of the Roma.
    Typical! France gets off ‘scot free’ for ethnic cleansing but Britain gets severe penalties for not putting the EU flag on some signs.

  3. I think the contribution from the UN chief is very welcome, to show that the rest of the world are concerned.