A friend in Europe writes:
For months the RCE [the upstart Chabad-controlled organization of European rabbis] has been trying to portray itself as the true voice of authentic Judaism in Europe in a battle with the long standing and much respected Conference of European Rabbis. In the course of this campaign, they attracted a disparate group of disaffected charedim into their organization. (For example, Dayan Lichtenstein, fresh from his bruising libel court-case with Brian Maccaba, in which leading CER figures gave evidence; Rabbi Schlesinger of Geneve who is suspect in relation to his ‘hechsherim’ and who was unceremoniously ejected from the CER some years ago; Rabbi Elchonon Halpern, the elderly rov of a hasidic shtibl in London who is a vehement opponent of leading CER figure Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu’s North West London eruv).
Charedi leaders in Europe have long suspected, though, that the RCE is simply a front for obtaining money from the EU and for consolidating Chabad’s power in Europe. They are also concerned that a number of the activities of organizations under the RCE umbrella are not in keeping with their standards, and certainly not in line with halocho. The charedi leadership in Europe have now finally banded together to disallow any chareidi participation with RCE and forced Rabbi Halpern to resign as ‘nossi’ of the RCE (note the wording on the announcement). His ‘resignation’ comes just six months after the resignation of his predecessor as ‘nossi’ of the RCE, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneebalg, the elderly head of the Manchester charedi Machzikei Hadas kehilla.
This battle seems to be heating up again, after Chabad’s recent attempt to use Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yona Metzger to force the EU to recognize Chabad’s RCE.