Europe is divided on the Israel-Hamas conflict and has few good options to deal with it. But Europeans won’t be able to escape the conflict’s consequences.
Europe’s response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas has been chaotic. In the immediate aftermath of the massacres of Israeli civilians carried out by Hamas on October 7th, the EU’s Commissioner for enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, unilaterally announced that the EU would cut its aid to the Palestinian Authority, sparking a spat with other Commissioners and public rebukes by member-states. Attention has also focused on Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s unconditional support for Israel during her impromptu visit to the country. Her initial unwillingness to call on Israel to respect international humanitarian law in its fight against Hamas contrasted sharply with the approach of other EU leaders such as High Representative for foreign policy Josep Borrell, and irked many, both in Brussels and in EU capitals.
About the author
Luigi Scazzieri is a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.
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