Tag Archive: Africa


The European Union’s Fight for LGBT Rights in Partner Countries

On October 2, 2013, Nick Westcott, the European Union’s most senior official in charge with relations in Africa, proclaimed the European Union should stop lecturing Africa about gay rights.  Westcott believes the European Union needs to be understanding of Africa’s cultural differences.  When asked to elaborate on cultural issues at a debate in Brussels about European Union foreign policy, Westcott stated “We can lecture about lesbian, gays and bisexuals until the cows come home. And it will have a wholly counterproductive effect on our usefulness in Africa. We need to focus on fundamental values.”

Protecting the rights of the LGBT community is a fundamental value of the European Union.  Westcott’s stance on how to handle gay rights in Africa is contrary to the European Union’s overall foreign policy on the rights of gays and lesbians in partner countries.  Article 21 of the the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.The principle of equal treatment is a fundamental value for the European Union, which is going to great lengths to combat homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In July 2012, the European Parliament released a resolution to help combat violence against lesbian women and the rights of the LGBT community in Africa.  In July 2013, the European Parliament submitted another resolution condemning a law passed by Nigeria that criminalizes not only same-sex marriage, but those who fail to denounce them. Even more than that, the law made it illegal to show a public display of affection to someone of the same sex.

The European Union’s fight for LGBT rights also extends to other parts of the world.  The European Union recently condemned Serbia’s ban  of a gay pride parade for the third consecutive year.  They have also condemned the Ukraine for its new laws banning propaganda of homosexuality, and threatened the Ukraine’s ties to the European Union because of it.  It appears Westcott’s opinion on how to handle LGBT rights in Africa is not the majority view of the European Union.

Necessary Power? The Development of the European Union Military

The Common Security and Defense Policy, CSDP, could be said to have had its historical beginnings with the signing of the 1947 Treaty of Dunkirk. The treaty was signed by France and United Kingdom after World War II due to a possible with German threat. This treaty of ‘Alliance and Mutual Assistance” might be the first of its kind between European countries in an attempt to bind together in warding off enemy attacks.

In 1999, after the initial Dunkirk Treaty and through other treaties, meetings, and agreements  among the 27 Member States of the European Union, EU, the European Security and Defense Policy, ESPD, was established.  The goal of the ESPD was to ensure the security of Europe in the globalizing world and to formulate a united European international security strategy in order to deal with the growing threats facing the EU. Further, another goal was to support the EU’s “Common Foreign and Security Policy.” These growing dangers might be too much for a single Member State  to face alone. Unlike its predecessor, the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), the ESPD included Member States of the EU that were not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO. In so doing, the ESPD, first, fell under the jurisdiction of Europe and second, created the first united Military strategy of the EU because non-NATO Member States of the EU were allowed to become members. In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon came into force/effect. That effect brought with it a change in name of the “united strategy” from the ESPD to the CSDP.

Before its renaming in 2009, the ESPD carried out its first mission in 2003 following the 1999 declaration of intent of the Member States for the ESPD. This mission consisted of EU troops watching over the country of Macedonia due to tensions of different ethnic groups due to the consequence of the Kosovo War. Since then the EU military have completed missions in Africa, Asia, and Europe. These missions range from  humanitarian (Africa) to peacekeeping (Europe). The 27 Member States that make up the EU military have a combined military budget of 194 Billion Euros  for military expenditures and over 5 million military personnel (active and reserve). In fact, the CSDP has been compared  to the national strategy of the United States’ military.

The United States, unlike the EU, is one country. The EU consist of nations with their own military power, budget and personnel. Furthermore, the 27 Member States each have their own Heads of States who make decisions that, although helps their national interest, must conform with the standards of the EU, because failure to do so would destroy the purpose of the EU. However, there is much to be seen when a Member State has every right to abstain from a mission but is not allowed to do so. It would be interesting to see what the remedy to that dilemma would be. After all, the EU was created for a common market, but whether a unified military was a rightful side-effect of such is still left to be seen.




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