European foreign ministers have started to flesh out the EU’s new diplomatic service. It will be called the European External Action Service (EEAS) and its job is to try and get the 27 member block to speak with one voice.
Monday saw the official launch by its top representative, Catherine Ashton. She will be flanked by a Secretary General- likely to be France’s Pierre Vimont, as well as two deputies.
Despite assurances that it will not replace member states’ foreign ministries, there are dissenting voices across the continent.
Diplomats angry at cuts in foreign ministry budgets in their own countries are loathe to accept the three billion euro annual budget that the EU’s new foreign service will receive. They also fear it will undermine their own national ministries.
The EEAS should be operational by December but before then there is set to be plenty of fighting over who gets to fill the posts in the EU’s most prestigious embassies in places such as China, Brazil, Japan and India.