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Pro-Europe Ashton gets to sit at EU high-table

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Pro-Europe Ashton gets to sit at EU high-table

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The choice of Catherine Ashton could be seen as a nod towards understated efficiency rather than the influence of a high-profile big-name diplomat.

Some say it was a sop to the UK for turning down their former premier, Tony Blair, but all who know her say Ashton is an astute negotiator. One journalist asked Catherine Ashton: – “You come from a country which didn’t want to define this post as ‘Foreign Minister’: how do you feel?” Catherine Ashton responded with, “Well, it’s called ‘High Representative’…it says it all.” For the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, the “Ashton asset” lies in her European beliefs: “She has a European outlook, she is a member of the EU Commission, and that’s much more important than being minister of a national government.” But for the UK’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, the idea of a Brit at the European high-table is a good thing whoever it is. “I’ve had two priorities: the first is to protect and promote Britain’s national interest in Europe, and second is to demonstrate that Britain’s position at the heart of the European Union is reinforced, shaping its future from a position of strength in ways that benefit the British people,” said Gordon Brown.