News BlogEEAS High Representative

A British communication pro to take care of Cathy Ashton's image

Frédéric Michel could be Cathy Ashton’s “communicator”. The current director for public affairs “Europe” of Rupert Murdoch's group, New Corp (1), could be, first of all, responsible for ensuring that the British tabloids view the head of European diplomacy favorably, or at least don't turn it on too much. But he won't have that as his task.

With a French passport, Fred Michel is above all a Briton, well known in the aisles in particular of Labor. Researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science and at the University Institute of Florence, he was one of the founders, in December 2000, and first director (until 2003) of Policy Network, a think tank, a breeding ground for ideas for the Labor Party, and apostle of the third way implemented by Tony Blair. This think tank is today chaired by Peter Mandelson (the former Trade Commissioner who was succeeded by Cathy Ashton at the European Commission). He thus defends the modernization of the left and shows himself to be close, in France, to Dominique Strauss Kahn. In 2003, he became an associate partner of the consulting company Reputation Inc. Then in 2009 he joined Murdoch's team.

In particular, it will have to bring into existence the High Representative who, for the moment, depends almost entirely on the service of the spokesperson for the European Commission. Which, in my opinion, harms the communication of the diplomatic service and its manager rather than serves it. Note also that in the first organizational chart officially released a few days ago (1), the Public Diplomacy office, originally planned, has completely disappeared in favor of a simple “strategic communication” function. Position that floats in the organization chart without any attached department.

(1) The Murdoch group owns in particular: The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Sun, as well as The Wall Street Journal ou News of the World
(2) The first detailed organization chart of the new diplomatic service

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).