EU Action Service is heading for an existential crisis
Posted, May 11, 2011 @ 00:00
Strasbourg, 11th May 2011 -- The European External Action Service (EEAS) has rightly been low-profile in its first six months, leaving EU governments to drive the foreign policy agenda, but such a pre-Lisbon treaty 'business-as-usual' approach does not justify the high increases in spending brought about by the service, Charles Tannock MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists group foreign affairs spokesman, said today.
Speaking in a debate with the High Representative on the first six months of the new External Action Service, Dr Tannock raised questions as to whether the EEAS was adding value. After the debate, he said:
"The major crises of recent months in North Africa and the capture of Bin Laden have shown the EEAS led by Baroness Ashton to be slow to respond. National governments have rightly driven the agenda.
"I am pleased that Baroness Ashton has seen her position as one of a high profile messenger of the EU's common positions, which plays to her good administrative and interpersonal skills. She has rightly not sought to use the Lisbon Treaty powers of initiative to form foreign policy on behalf of the EU.
"The problem that Baroness Ashton has is that her role seems to be very similar to her pre-Lisbon treaty predecessor. If she is only fulfilling the role as a mouthpiece for EU governments when they agree on a common response then it begs the question why we need an expensive action service at all. The External Action Service must prove that it can bring added value or it will wither on the vine.
"The EEAS needs to step up to its envisaged role at least by providing meaningful foreign policy analysis and coordination which adds value to EU member states' ability to take foreign policy positions. As things stand, we are heading for an existential crisis for the EEAS."