First Euro crisis now diplomatic crisis – 12 EU members against Catherine Ashton

SURREY – While on a one side EU leaders are trying to contain damages caused by global economic crisis and to fix numerous problems regarding euro zone facing itself with possible dissolution and global crush problems are continuing to pile up. According to reports filed by The Daily Telegraph journalists in Brussels 12 EU member states including Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Sweden are extremely unsatisfied with EEAS (European External Action Service). As it is known EEAS is EU joint diplomatic services lead by British Baroness Catherine Ashton as EU Foreign Affair Minister. This is not a the first time that EU member states are unsatisfied with Ashton’s performance as Foreign Minister, but timing of this letter is significant because it comes in a days before EEAS second anniversary. EEAS is also formal diplomatic representation of EU positions and policies at the 130 delegations and embassies all over the world.

12 EU member states extremely dissatisfied with EEAS and it's leader Catherine Ahston

Over the last two years several members of EU stated their dissatisfaction with Ashton’s actions, decisions and inability to put EU Foreign Affairs Service in real function with satisfying results. Often she was accused that as a female is not qualified to be Foreign Affairs leader but that’s not a real problem. During her term at this position EU Foreign Affairs didn’t succeed to fulfill any of promised goals or to place itself at the world influence map as one of the important players in current affairs. Foreign Ministers who signed letter dated December 8 expressed in diplomatic language their frustration with the fact that their monthly meetings are not prepared properly. According to The Daily Telegraph they expressed suspicions regarding Ashton’s willingness to cooperate with them or to give them enough preparation time.

“We would like to offer some suggestions on how to functioning of the service could be further improved. Ways to further  optimize the identification of political priorities should be explored. The EEAS could be tasked more regularly to produce preparatory policy and/or decision-making papers to be circulated in advance of meetings”, said the letter.

European diplomat from one of 12 countries which talked to The Daily Telegraph clearly expressed his/theirs anger with recurring problems with EEAS and it’s leadership. In his own testimony EU member governments are not able to properly review papers given to them by EEAS before they meet in Brussels for monthly Foreign Affair Ministers meeting. Suspicion is Ashton is repeating this practice with purpose to give them as little as possible time to make any changes, causing major dissatisfaction with EEAS and Ashton.

Further problem with EEAS are reruns of same issues over the last two years. Previously Belgium, signer of December 8 letter, publicly criticized EEAS for failing to properly involve national governments in running of EU foreign policy. Letter also calls for establishment of proper communication network at EEAS stations all over the world as part of efforts to make Heads of Delegations able to receive all important informations and to implement them in proper times. If EEAS fails to introduce chances to it’s services and practices 12 members states believe in 2013 problems will grow even bigger because 1/3 of EEAS staff will come from member states and they’re not properly prepared to fulfill their diplomatic duties on behalf of members and EU.

As always Baroness Ashton and her spokesman are in defense mode refusing to accept any of claims coming from member states. In statement regarding the December 8 letter spokesman said:

“Many of the proposals in the letter have already been put into the practice. The EEAS is working very closely and successfully with the other institutions and the member states.”


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