From today's EurActiv:
"French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has deplored the absence of the European Union from direct talks between Israel and Palestine, which are due to start today (2 September) in Washington.
Speaking to the press in Paris, Kouchner said it was "regrettable" that the Union was not directly represented. (...)
"Europe is not condemned to be simply a financial partner. I think Europe should play a political role, in particular in the search for peace in the Middle East," he said.
This is not the first time Kouchner has touched upon the format of direct talks between Israel and Palestine. Last Friday, he said that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton should be the Union's representative.
Ashton replied the next day, saying that she could not attend next month's Middle East peace talks due to an upcoming China trip, adding that she had no place there anyway."