Europe has always supported Nepal’s development and democracy, so Nepalis respect European people. But some European diplomats misconstrue Nepalis’ friendliness, and behave like viceroys.
Last week, the Election Commission (EC) barred two European Union (EU) observers from poll monitoring after they were found to have ‘shown unnecessary concerns’ about our internal affairs. The EC would have probably not reacted if some EU representatives had not crossed their line in the past.
There is a deep-rooted perception in Kathmandu that some EU countries clandestinely backed the Maoist agenda of ethnic identity-based provinces. In 2015, EU ambassador Rensje Teerink breached diplomatic norms by meeting a separatist. What Teerink did was an infringement on Nepal’s sovereignty, but Kathmandu did not dare to declare her persona non grata.
When India imposed a crippling blockade against Nepal to show its displeasure at our new Constitution in 2015, the EU was expected to stand up for us. But it did not utter a word against New Delhi. Some EU members were afraid of straining their ties with India, and toed the Indian line.
It is no longer a secret that some EU members or diplomats want to fuel a separatist movement in the Tarai. The EU was probably not unaware of the conduct of its representatives to Nepal. But it did not try to discourage them, pushing Kathmandu closer to Beijing. Today, the age-old ties between Nepal and Europe are at risk, and the EU needs to salvage them by clearly reiterating that it is for Nepal and Nepalis and against hate speech and separatism.