EU Foreign Minister Forced to Admit Bulgarian Candidate Gaffe

Bulgaria in EU | January 29, 2010, Friday // 16:39|  views

Catherine Ashton (r.) is shown here with UK P M Gordon Brown, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Aga Khan of the Aga Khan Development Network, as she attended the Afghanistan Conference in London. Photo by BGNES

Confusion on the part of EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton meant she had in error "put forward" a Bulgarian candidate for the position of EU High Representative in Afghanistan.

Ashton, who is participating in the ongoing international Afghanistan Conference in London, had announced on Thursday that Bulgaria, Italy, Poland and Hungary had nominated representatives for the post.

Subsequently, however, a spokesman for Ashton had stated that it was not actually Bulgaria she had referred to, but Lithuania. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry had announced that it could neither confirm nor deny the information about the Bulgarian candidature.

According to Ashton's recommendations, the High Representative should be "a personality, able to coordinate everything that the EU does" in Afghanistan and to improve the Union's presence on the ground. He/she will also have to work with civilian representatives of the UN and NATO and to "be part of the team".

Next week, Ashton will meet with each of the candidates and make her final selection.

In the final communique of the conference in London, it was recorded that the participants "welcome Kabul's readiness to assume full responsibility for the security in the country for 5 years".

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Tags: Catherine Ashton, EU foreign minister, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Afghanistan, High Representative, UN, NATO


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