Ashton's EU Diplomats Choice 'Angers' MEPs

Bulgaria in EU | September 21, 2010, Tuesday // 17:35|  views

MEPs said no to EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton's choice for EU diplomatic appointments. Photo by BGNES

The European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee postponed Monday night its vote to amend staff regulations required for the EU new diplomatic service (EEAS) to be launched.

The Committee asked the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, to make changes in her newly announced team, the European Voice informs.

The Members of the European Parliament said that with last week's appointments, Ashton broke her commitment to ensure gender and geographical balance. Last week, the EU Foreign Policy Chief named 27 diplomats to EU delegations, almost all at head of delegation level. They included four from Member States that joined the EU on or after 1 May 2004 and seven women.

MEPs do not have the power to confirm or refuse confirmation of appointments to the EEAS, but informal hearings are a condition for their confirmation. MEPs can delay the voting and subsequently Ashton's plans to have the diplomatic service working full force beginning December 1, 2010.

MEP Jacek Saruysz-Wolski of Poland, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, stated regulations should include quotas for citizens from the EU's new Member States.

There was also controversy among different EP Committees with MEPs saying the Foreign Affairs Committee, rather than the Legal Affairs Committee, should have taken the lead on the issue.

The opinion of the Foreign Affairs Committee is required before the Legal Affairs Committee can vote on the matter. Talks between the two committees have now begun, and the Foreign Affairs Committee is tentatively scheduled to vote on September 29.

The committee did adopt its opinion on an amended financial regulation that is also required for the EEAS to be launched. The budgets committee is scheduled to vote on it on September 28.

The Foreign Affairs Committee invited the heads of delegations in China, Georgia, Japan, Lebanon and Pakistan, appointed last week, to appear before MEPs in October. The informal hearings are to be held in public, the MEPs decided.

Bulgaria's, Filip Dimitrov, who was appointed EU envoy to Georgia is among the first diplomats to appear for hearing before the MEPS.

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Tags: MEPs, EP, European parliament, Filip Dimitrov, EEAS, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, Catherine Ashton, External Action Service, Council of the European Union, European Commission, Foreign Affairs Committee


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