The European Commission and EU member states are in the middle of a nasty scrap over who is to have the most influence on Europe’s new diplomatic corps. Talks between the EU executive and national diplomats over the organisation of the External Action Service took a combative turn, the EUobserver report.
“Member states think the commission, if not exactly making a power grab, is overstepping the mark.”
Talks between the EU executive and national diplomats over the organisation of the External Action Service (EAS) took a combative turn last week after the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, circulated in Brussels a series of “vision papers” – seen by EUobserver – on the new institution.
According to one source close to the discussions described them as “very frosty, pretty tense,” with the commission representatives saying the Ashton documents seemed to offer a leading role for the Council of Ministers, representing the member states, the EUobserver writes.
The European Council asked Ms Ashton to decide how she would be setting up the service by April. Discussions are ongoing with the commission and the council to make sure that everyone is on board before the decision is finally taken in April.
But it is understood that feelings are now running so high that the commission is considering withdrawing public support for the proposals.
The commission feels that member states are encroaching on parts of policy territory thought of as its own, while member states think the commission, if not exactly making a power grab, is overstepping the mark.
One major point of contention concerns control over development policy. Member states feel that development policy strategy should be set by themselves and the commission should have the role of implementing decisions.