EU Presidency Accuses Members of Leaking Docs to Israel

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The European Union presidency on Tuesday accused member states of leaking important foreign policy documents to countries outside the bloc, including Israel.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, wrote in an opinion piece that the leaks are hampering the 25-member bloc's ability to act as a united force in global politics.

"It has long been known that all EU documents that deal with the Middle East also are known in Tel Aviv within an hour after having been distributed to the member states, and probably also in Washington and Moscow," Tuomioja wrote in the Helsinki newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet.

CountryWatch: Finland

He said the leaks encourage member states to act outside the EU's formal decision-making structure.

"This is problematic for the whole union, but especially harmful to the smaller member states," he wrote.

Tuomioja also criticized EU ministers for acting in national interests — or at least giving that impression to the media — and preparing for summits as if they were facing hostile countries.

"It would have great significance for the EU's morale, credibility and efficiency if ministers came to EU meetings with a certain feeling of common goals and not primarily to bring home gains ... for domestic use," he wrote.

He also accused the media of exaggerating differences within the union. For example, he said the union had a common view on how to respond to the violence in the Middle East, contrary to many news reports.

Finland holds the rotating six-month presidency for the remainder of the year.