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Ashton wins backing for EU diplomatic plan but needs more

brussels bureau

Ashton wins backing for EU diplomatic plan but needs more


Twenty-seven countries with their own diplomatic services are a step closer to a shared European Union mission. The bloc’s foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has secured approval of core aspects of her plan from the member states, at a meeting in Luxembourg. It remains for her to convince the European Parliament about how the External Action Service should be organized.

The EU High Representative said: “Europe needs an external action service because that will help us to build a distinct 21st century European response. It will be a service that will bring together the European institutions. It will bring together in a joined up way our response to the issues that we face in the world and promote comprehensive policies.”

The several-thousand-strong diplomatic corps created under the Lisbon Treaty will be staffed in equal parts by countries’ diplomats, bureacrats with the European Commission, and by the EU’s secretariat Council.

The European Parliament exercises influence with its power over budget allocations. There are still questions about the organization’s internal structure and Ashton will continue to work on her promise to fill the key posts coveted by national diplomacies.

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