As Jean Montago correctly states [Letters to the Editor, August 14], the EU has a GDP greater than the USA, a population to match, and, through the Phnom Penh-based office of the European Commission Delegation to Cambodia, European taxpayers sponsor numerous projects costing many millions of euros. It is consequently a puzzle as to why the EC charge d'affaires seemed to take such a back seat in recent discussions with the Cambodian government over the question of democracy.
At the meeting, the British ambassador represented Sweden (which currently holds the present EU presidency), and the German ambassador was present because Germany will take over the local presidency next January. However, given that the EU presidency only lasts for six months, there could, in theory, be completely new ambassadors in the EU "troika" this time next year. Such rapid changes of personnel do not strengthen the hand of the EU in sustaining issues and mean it is even more important that either the local charge d'affaires or the Bangkok-based EC ambassador, as diplomatic staff with more permanent tenure, take the lead in EU-Cambodian government talks.
If the EU wants to have a more effective voice, it is worth remembering, perhaps, a maxim from the time of the first union in Europe: divide ut regnes.
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