Reuniting Europe

No press point is to be held today (24 January) following the meeting between Commission President Barroso and Islam Karimov, president of Uzbekistan. Barroso receives Karimov in an unprecedented move to engage with an authoritarian leader who has been in charge since 1990 and stands accused of massive violations of human rights.

The Commission explained that this was merely a matter of agendas. Apparently leaders had no time for such a press point, just as recently with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Is it a coincidence that each time Barroso meets a world leader with a poor human rights record, but rich in business opportunities, the conference is skipped?

Your guess is as good as mine. But I have an advice for the Commission press service. They should spell out in their guidelines that the EU doesn’t stage press conferences for dictators. Then hopefully controversial leaders will be eager to speak.

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