Brit Cathy Ashton remained steadfast ahead of a grilling from MEPs in the Foreign Affairs Committee today. Having presented an organigram for the new European diplomatic service (European External Action Service) she faced opposition from a large politica
Foreign policy chief Ashton and MEP Verhofstadt looked set for a clash. At stake is the future European diplomatic service, the External Action Service. Seeing eye to eye won’t be quite so easy, as Verhofstadt made clear his opposition to Lady Ashton’s plans earlier in the day. With the Parliament we are going back to the initial idea of the EAS. It’s a global service, an autonomous service. In our point of view you have to link it to an institution. He hopes that the Commission has a larger role to play and that Commissioners are implicated rather than having diplomats work as unaccountable civil servants. Other MEPs saw Ashton’s plan in a more positive light. We can be a powerbroker that she can use to play off attacks from within the Commission and the Council, and help her make the European External Action Service successful. Time is running out for a decision on the final organigram of the EAS. This MEP sees it as simple game of logic. There must be dialogue. There is a synthesis only after the thesis and the anti-thesis. Ashton hopes for a spring birth with a decision by the end of April, but MEPs may block her in her tracks until the summer.