BRUSSELS, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A British politician aiming to take on the new job of European Union foreign minister says the EU should be tougher on Russia and Israel.
Chris Patten, delivering a speech in the European Parliament in Brussels Monday, says the EU should reject Russian claims of a "sphere of influence" and stand up to Israel on such issues as continued West Bank settlement building and the invasion of Gaza, the EUobserver reported.
The post of EU foreign minister would be created under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty.
"Over the past few years, we've given the Russians the impression that we've accepted their notion of sphere of influence as though we were still dealing with the diplomacy of the 19th century," Patten said. "I don't think we've been firm enough in our dealings with Russia."
On Israel, the EUobserver reported Patten said referring to this year's events in Gaza: "Sometimes there are member states which seem to prefer in practice giving the Israeli foreign ministry a veto over European policy. I can't remember any other time when I felt more humiliated at being a European."