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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's the point then?

This is a pretty interesting comment from the Chief Operating Officer of the EU's diplomatic service (the EEAS), David O'Sullivan. In an interview with EUobserver, he said:
"At the end of the day, it's the member states that decide whether they want to speak with one voice, and there are moments when there are divergences. The High Representative [Baroness Catherine Ashton] has difficulty expressing a common European view if one doesn't exist...It is our hope that [the EEAS] will facilitate this process...We cannot at the end of the day change fundamental disagreements between member states."
Well put. As we've consistently argued, institutions cannot replace real policies - particularly in foreign affairs where it's clear that the EU remains a bloc of 27 national policies, which occassionally find common ground.

But his begs the question: what's the added value of the EEAS in the first place? If Ashton and the EEAS don't have the power to act in the absence of a common position shared by all 27 member states - a rare occurence indeed - is it then really worth spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money every year (€464 million only in 2011) to run a giant "facilitator"?

Given the criticism Ashton is facing (Only two weeks ago, Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere openly criticised her inability to get EU governments to agree on any of the most sensitive issues - not least the upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East - during her first year in the job), we wonder if the good Baroness isn't starting to ask herself that question as well, despite some good talk.


Sheona said...

Lady Ashton and her merry band do indeed seem a needless expense. It appears that all she can produce are anodyne comments with no real force or meaning.

Rollo said...

There is no point in the EEAS, never has been and neveer will be. It is a part of the ongoing pretence that the EU is a nation state, which it ain't and never will be.
Luckily, it is run by a nonentity, so it does little harm, other than the outrageous cost of it.

Patrick Barron said...

The point is to create more cushy, bureaucratic jobs for Europe's elite at the expense of the common man. We often say that these bureaucrats want to control us--and that is true--but in the final analysis the most important thing is that they continue to live well at the expense of others. So, they are simply better paid welfare recipients.

Robert Snare said...

The real irony, which largely went unnoticed, was Baroness Ashton, surrounded by Von Rumpoy and the other unelected Commissioners at the Austrian Security Conference telling the Egyptians how to move towards a democratic society, when the first uprisings began.

It would be a triumph for the electorate if we could move to a truly democratic EU by electing the Commissioners, and removing the legal protection immunity from prosecution for their nefarious activities, which they currently enjoy.

The main reason for decrying the vast expense of the EAS is the point made by others, and in the quote from her office, is that it is virtually impossible to achieve a common foreign policy in an organistion of 27 countries with differing ideologies, religions and economic backgrounds.

The EU is now in a state of disintegration on several fronts. The open border Shengen policy has been shattered by the French returning the Romas and the recent North African immigrants back to their places of origin. The financial debacle is about to reach new depths of insolvency. Anerica's debt has passed the 14 trillion bench mark, so the IMF will receive very limited funding in the near future, and this will impact the new funding for Greece, Portugal and very soon Spain.

2012 may yet prove to be a year of hope for all democrats and the long suffering taxpayers who have funded such an unwanted, badly constituted and managed organisation as the EU.