Showing posts with label EEAS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EEAS. Show all posts

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Acting The (Judas) Goat

On Monday in the EU-supporting Telegraph, we have Douglas Carswell in his regular blog arguing that Britain should leave the Ukraine alone. He states:
What should we do? Take great care, for a start.
At the time of the Schleswig-Holstein question, when Britain was the world’s hyperpower, we avoided wading in. We would be wise to be cautious now.
Maybe, just maybe, this desire to be in the thick of things comes less from a sense of our strength, and more from a fear of our weakness.  Perhaps after Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, a certain kind of British official feels that this is what one does.
British diplomats might want to be doing the deals and laying down the terms of the UN resolutions. But since when was the amour-propre of British diplomats the yardstick by which we measure the national interest?
In his anticipation of the motives of British diplomats, what seems to have escaped Carswell's notice is that the UK does not have a choice in the matter. We are members of the EU and as a consequence we cannot have a separate national foreign policy on nations who have Association Agreements with the EU and are undergoing a European Neighbourhood Policy which applies to Ukraine.

Such matters are now a European External Action Service (EEAS) competence so our foreign policy is whatever President Barosso and Baroness Ashton decides it is. It doesn't matter what the UK wants - we are up to our necks in the Ukrainian mess because of our EU membership.

The increasing importance, or 'encroachment' of the EEAS regarding the UK is demonstrated by its continuing expansion at same time the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is declining. For example since 2006-7, staffing has been cut from 7,005 to 4,450 and it is planned to fall further to 4,285 by 2014-15 (page 31).

Yet strangely not once is the EU or the EEAS mentioned in Carswell's blog. And it's not as if Carswell is unaware of the EEAS given that he voted against its establishment in July 2010 while most of his colleagues voted for it, and in October of the same year he said this to the House:
I remind Members that the European External Action Service is the EU's diplomatic corps. It already has about 20 times the budget of our Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
So one wonders why the silence now, Carswell?

Update: I've just spotted that Autonomous Mind has just written a piece on a similar theme regarding the silence on the EEAS from Con Coughlin in the Telegraph.

Friday, 25 February 2011

A Coincidence?

The establishment of the EU External Action Service (under Lisbon), meant that the UK would no longer have an independent foreign policy. The impact on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has long raised concerns, such as this one by Lord Pearson just over a year ago:
Lord Pearson of Rannoch: Can the noble Lord give us a clear assurance that there will be any British embassies left in 10 years' time? If he can give that assurance, will he tell us where they will be? If he does not have the answer at his fingertips, would he be good enough to put a letter in the Library?
And in October last year Peter Oborne of the Telegraph received an email regarding the implications of the Spending Review for the future of British diplomacy, a key part of which was this:
This will reflect a fundamental shift in UK diplomatic influence and activity.

Civil servants and diplomats follow the money. It is one of the reasons why historically in Brussels the best quality civil servants and diplomats tend to come from Ireland and other smaller states – because the EU budgets far exceed their own home country’s ministry budgets. That was never the case for the larger countries in the EU, until now.

A young diplomat from the UK joining up in 2015 will be faced with option of joining the UK diplomatic corps or an EU corps with twice the funding. Which will the most ambitious opt for?

This revolution in UK diplomacy is taking place against a backdrop of a Foreign Office already thrown into internal confusion by David Cameron.

Fast forward to today and we have the shambles that is the Libyian evacuation of British citizens:

Like the Treasury, the Foreign Office is supposed to contain the brightest and best of Britain’s civil servants. But just as the Treasury failed to anticipate the banking crisis, so Carlton-Browne of the FO seems to have been caught on the hop by the collapse of regimes across the Middle East.

This is, of course, a department of state which is said to pride itself on an intimate knowledge of Arab affairs. Yet the uprisings in Egypt, Bahrain and Libya appear to have come as a complete surprise to our diplomatic elite.

A coincidence? Shurley sum mistake.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Does The Daily Mail Read The Boiling Frog?

Probably not...

Iran has been embroiled in another censorship row after a top worn by Baroness Ashton was doctored in state media because it was too revealing.

Photographs of the EU foreign minister with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili at talks in Istanbul on Friday appeared the next day in Iranian media - but showed her wearing a top with a much higher neckline than she actually had on.

...but you heard it first:

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Baroness Ashton's Too Sexy For Iran

Baroness Ashton, the UK's, EU's foreign Minister is currently attending talks in Turkey over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

It would seem though that her top was too 'low-cut' and so Iranian newspapers have altered it to make it appear more Islamic. This is the original:


And these are some of the Iranian front pages:





Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Absent Ashton

Bruno Waterfield from the Telegraph reports:
Absent Baroness Ashton leaves Britain without a voice
Baroness Ashton has failed to fully attend two thirds of European Commission meetings over the past year, leaving Britain without a voice in the most important forum for EU law making, according to research by The Daily Telegraph.
Leaving aside for one moment that Ashton has never seemed popular within the EU, the Telegraph seems to think this is news, surely more pertinent questions would be;
  • Why does such a job exist?

  • Who cares if Ashton fails to attend?

  • Who cares - full stop?

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The End Of The FCO?

Since the Tories won in May (sorry the Coalition) EU integration is continuing at such a pace it's getting increasingly more difficult to keep up. Peter Oborne in today's Telegraph has this email regarding the implications of the Spending Review for the future of British diplomacy:

Peter, following the Spending Review, Foreign Office funding by 2014-2015 (GBP 1.3 billion) will be exactly half the amount envisaged for the nascent European External Action Service (which will have risen to Euro 3 billion by then, or GBP 2.6 billion).

This will reflect a fundamental shift in UK diplomatic influence and activity.

Civil servants and diplomats follow the money. It is one of the reasons why historically in Brussels the best quality civil servants and diplomats tend to come from Ireland and other smaller states – because the EU budgets far exceed their own home country’s ministry budgets. That was never the case for the larger countries in the EU, until now.

A young diplomat from the UK joining up in 2015 will be faced with option of joining the UK diplomatic corps or an EU corps with twice the funding. Which will the most ambitious opt for?

This revolution in UK diplomacy is taking place against a backdrop of a Foreign Office already thrown into internal confusion by David Cameron.

He has this year paved the way for a commercial-first policy for diplomats, saying that UK diplomacy should henceforth focus on trade interests. This is all very well, but it goes against the FO tradition of a mixed training and corps in which diplomats moved between trade and political appointments.

He also caused consternation by moving a non-career diplomat – Simon Fraser – to become the permanent secretary for the diplomatic corps as of July this year. Fraser was at the department of business before that. It was the first time a non-diplomatic background civil servant had got the job.

Interestingly before 2009 Fraser was on secondment to Brussels for four years where he was Peter Mandelson’s trade spokesman. He is a europhile. That will probably not give the FO much confidence as moves into a demographically weak position vis a vis its new European rival corps!

None of it a surprise. The Tories simply can't give this country away fast enough.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Instructions From London

From Roger Helmer Tory MEP this rather revealing post:
Back in July we were voting in the Strasbourg Plenary on the proposal to set up the EEAS — the European External Action Service, or EU Diplomatic Service (under the wise and guiding hand of Baroness Ashton). And looking down the voting list, I and a couple of colleagues saw that we were whipped to vote in favour.

It had to be a mistake. As a Party, we’ve always opposed the EEAS, and we opposed the Lisbon Treaty which provided its legal basis (or at least we opposed Lisbon until it was ratified). But clearly we would not actually be voting in favour — would we?

I turned round to our Foreign Affairs Spokesman (at least we still regard EU issues as foreign, even if Brussels regards them as domestic), Charles Tannock MEP (London), two rows behind me, and I shouted “Hey Charles, there’s a mistake. We’re down to vote YES on EEAS!”. To which he replied “That’s right. Instructions from London”.

So which way now for euro-sceptics in the Party (which is most of the membership)? I have written to William Hague requesting an explanation of this volte face, but to date have received no reply.
To his credit Roger voted no, but as he pertinently asks which way now for Tory eurosceptics.? There is a simple answer to that one, but how many of them will listen?

Thursday, 26 August 2010

EU Gains Speaking Rights At UN

According to EurActiv (my emphasis):
European Council and Commission representatives yesterday (24 August) confirmed reports that the United Nations is to grant the EU the right to speak at the body's General Assembly ahead of its 64th session, which starts on 15 September in New York.

Thus far, the EU has only had observer status at the UN. With the Lisbon Treaty, however...the EU's position at the UN appears to urgently require an upgrade.

According to Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, EU members France and the UK, who would hate to lose their influence in the UN Security Council, were initially reluctant to accept the idea. Ultimately, they have agreed to a compromise under which the head of EU diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, will have the right to speak on the EU's behalf in the General Assembly but not in the Security Council.

Ah, the good old compromise, which means the creeping influence of the EU can continue unabated via further demands in the future, until it replaces the Foreign and Commonwealth Office altogether. Oh and it will cost us another £8 million for the privilege:
BARONESS Ashton is poised to set up her new European Union diplomatic corps in palatial Brussels offices costing taxpayers more than £8million a year, it emerged last night.

EU officials were understood to be in advanced talks over leasing several floors of the gleaming Triangle building.

The top floor has already been earmarked as an office for Baroness Ashton, the Labour peer appointed to the new post of EU foreign affairs supremo last year.
Still, Lisbon was only a tidying up exercise, wasn't it?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Loyalties

According to a EUROPA press release today, a British diplomat has been appointed as the new EUSR for Sudan:

Dame Rosalind Marsden, a British Diplomat, has been appointed the new European Union Special Representative for Sudan, effective September 1st, replacing Ambassador Torben Brylle.

She has a large experience in African affairs, including as UK Ambassador to Sudan, a position she held until May this year. She will actively participate, on behalf of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in the international efforts in Sudan, notably the support for the preparations of the upcoming referenda in Abyei and South Sudan, liaising with the Sudanese parties as well as with all the regional, continental and international stakeholders. She will also devote considerable attention to the unsolved situation in Darfur.

Not only a clear illustration of where the loyalties of our civil servants really lie, but also the continual drip drip of Britain's loss of sovereignty.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Tories Approve Of The Lisbon Treaty

Last night in effect the Tories officially agreed with the Lisbon Treaty by voting on a motion approving of the launch of the EU’s External Action Service. The Minister for Europe told the House:
The EEAS was established by the Lisbon treaty, which came into effect last year. As the House will know, my party did not support either the treaty or the creation of the EEAS, but, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told the House in June this year, the EEAS is now a fact.
Hmm, so we don't agree with it but we will vote agreeing with it? All you need to know about the Tories right there. The motion was won by 321 in favour with 12 against. I think it's worth noting the 12 that voted against:

Bone, Mr Peter
Carswell, Mr Douglas
Corbyn, Jeremy
Davies, Philip
Dodds, rh Mr Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.
Lucas, Caroline
Paisley, Ian
Reckless, Mark
Skinner, Mr Dennis
Tomlinson, Justin
Wilson, Sammy

Caroline Lucas of the Green Party the only surprise for me. Does she have reservations about the EU? If she does, going by the views of the Greens I've met including the candidate that stood against me in the General Election, she would be at odds with the rest of her party.

I did like this intervention during the debate by Denis Skinner:
Mr Skinner: Speaking as someone who voted against Nice, Maastricht, Lisbon and God knows what else, I may have made a slight error on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. On reflection, I think IPSA should run the EEAS; that will cock it up.
My local Tory MP voted for the motion, another letter to him on its way then. Not that it does much good. I wonder where I can get some potassium nitrate from?

Friday, 12 March 2010

There's Too Many Brits...

...in top EU jobs, so says German MEP Elmar Brok in this short clip regarding the usual EU chaos and conflict unity in deciding the make up and purpose of the European External Action Service (some of the clip is not in English):