Europe still has no single foreign policy voice

Published on 25 April 2013 at 12:11

European External Action Service (EEAS) boss Catherine Ashton has failed. The EU has not spoken with a single voice on any key foreign affairs issue in recent years. This is the conclusion of a draft report by the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, which reviews the organisation and functioning of the EEAS, which was set up in December 2010.

“We’ve made one step forward, while we expected many more steps,” the committee's head, Elmar Brok, told Rzeczpospolita. Brok believes that EEAS has not adequately used the mechanism for enhanced cooperation written into the Treaty of Lisbon, which

makes it possible to agree upon operations by a selected group of countries as part of a single policy of the entire EU. Unfortunately, this solution has never been used even though it would be a perfect fit, eg for the intervention in Libya.

Brok says EEAS failure stems from a lack of unanimity on foreign affairs in the EU Council plus Ashton’s lack of broader vision or ability to set the foreign affairs agenda. Rzeczpospolita notes that in the eyes of the committee, the EEAS’s lack of real clout lies the institution’s faulty structure with lots of criss-crossing competencies that slow down the decision-making process.

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The report does however acknowledge some achievements on the part of the EEAS, most notably when it fostered an agreement on the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, and proved a good negotiator with regard to Iranian nuclear weapons programme.


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