Lord David Steel appealed for the European Union to become more involved with the Middle East peace process at Brunel’s Magna Carta Institute Annual Lecture this week [Tuesday 8 March].
The former MP, MSP and leader of the Liberal Party focused on the importance of helping forge new relationships between Israel and the next Egyptian administration.
He said: “Whatever new regime emerges in Egypt is likely to be more sympathetic to the Palestinian administration in Gaza than was President Mubarak. Israel also relies on Egypt for 40 per cent of its supplies and it is in their interests now for progress to be made on the peace front.”
Lord Steel noted that trade between Israel and the EU totalled 20 billion Euros in 2009 – “so we do have clout, but we don’t use it”. He added: “Palestinian leaders have regularly been appealing to the European Union to take a more active part in the peace process.”
Lord Steel will be talking to politicians in Cairo next week, with a view to putting the continuing settlement activity and blockade of Gaza back into the spotlight.
The lecture was held in Westminster, and marks the second Annual Lecture for the Magna Carta Institute, the political, social and legal think tank directed by Brunel’s Professor of Political Science, Justin Fisher. The Institute seeks to shape the debate around some of the key issues facing the world today. Regular events such as the annual lecture bring together leading figures from the worlds of politics, law, business, the media and academia.
Professor Fisher said: “Lord Steel’s lecture was stimulating and thought provoking. His topic considered very carefully the tensions between rights and responsibilities that go to the heart of democratic debate, and showed how these age old debates remain just as relevant today.”