News BlogEEAS High Representative

Thirty ambassadors being appointed

(BRUSSELS2)The first generation of “new look” EU ambassadors bearing the mark of the new Lisbon Treaty and Catherine Ashton should be known soon. Without waiting for the establishment of the European External Action Service, the renewal of heads of delegations within the framework of the 2010 rotation has already begun. There is urgency because some positions are vacant this summer.

Around thirty positions are at stake, some of which are rather prestigious. Are thus in the running: Beijing (China), Johannesburg (South Africa), Tokyo (Japan), Delhi (India), Brasilia (Brazil), Geneva (United Nations), number 2 in Washington… The renewal also concerns Balkans – ambassadors/heads of delegation in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (1) and Fyrom (Macedonia) – as well as several posts in Africa (such as Rabat in Morocco).

In concrete terms, the selection takes place within the framework set by the gentleman's agreement between the institutions intervened after the “Vale de Almeida” affair (2). From the applications received (very numerous, several hundred, including from the Commission), short lists have just been created, with the agreement of the European Commission. And "no candidate has been included in this shortlist without our agreement” we told the Commission. The candidates are then heard by a selection panel. Ultimately, the last two or three finalist candidates for each position will be interviewed by the High Representative in person. They should take office by the start of the school year.

Mixing “Boy Scout” culture with “Real Politik” culture

Member States are in the running and are honing their applications, particularly the diplomats of the new Member States, currently under-represented in the “head” positions of delegations. The Romanians thus proposed Viorel Isticioaia-Budur, a well-known sinologist (CV to read here on the Menaru blog). At Cathy Ashton we confirm that several of these positions could be granted – “with equal skills” – with priority to representatives of national diplomacies A necessity to achieve the objective of a third (40% maximum) of representatives of Member States in the diplomatic service. It is also a question of efficiency, as a senior Commission official recognizes: “ Our heads of delegations have more of a “boy scout” soul (the habit of managing and financing programs). The experience of the diplomacies of the Member States will therefore be appreciable, they have a “more Real Politik” culture to bring a more political sense to our delegations. We will have to merge cultures. But above all avoid a collection of national diplomacies. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) This last appointment could be delayed until a solution can be found on the post of High Representative of the International Community (OHR).

(2) read: The “Vale de Almeida” file is making waves in the Council...

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).