Elmar Brok (EPP) evaluates the perfomance and ideas of foreign policy chief Catherine Asthon with respect to the creation of the External Action Service. Happy with her progress so far, Brok nevertheless worries about the political accountability of the f
Mr Brok, your reaction to what you heard from Lady Ashton this afternoon. I think she has understood that the Parliament has concerns and that she cannot achieve such a service without the approval and support of the EP. And I think she has made many clear commitments about parliamentary rights on budget control and political scrutiny. A more confident performance than we’ve seen in the past? Yes, she's been in office for some time now, working on this and is now beginning to understand it better. I believe that she has done it quite professionally today. You don’t like the idea of a powerful civil servant as her No. 2, her Secretary General. Why not? We want political figures who are accountable to the EP and others. If there was a political permanent secretary general, he could run the shop when she is abroad negotiating. And I think this is against the idea. And we have to see that we have other sources of responsibility - the Council, the Commission. So, for example on the Commission side the Commissioners should be her deputies, and not such a secretary general who is not controllable. These discussions take time. It doesn’t look like she’ll hit her deadline of sorting things out by the end of April. No, I think it’s clear that this is not possible. They have now found out that they need an agreement between three institutions. EP has more than consultation rights, it has co-decision rights in certain cases. The service cannot be set up against the will of the Commission, Council, or EP. So all the institutions have to agree, and that’s a hard job for her.