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Battle of the ragpickers around the special representative to the African Union

(BRUSSELS2) The EU special representative to the African Union is the only one whose renewal has not yet been approved by the ambassadors of the COPS, the political and security committee of the European Union (EU). Questions were first raised around the need to retain a “special representative” for this function, which is combined with that of head of EU delegation to the African Union. Today it seems to revolve more around financial questions.

We know, in fact, that this position was one of the first to benefit from “double hatting” even though the European External Action Service had not yet seen the light of day. And this was not easy every day (read: Feedback from the first EU "embassy" in Africa).

Some countries – one in particular, in the north of this continent – ​​today have some “doubts” (as we say diplomatically) about the relevance of the budget allocated to personnel dependent on the special representative. They mainly target the nature of their functions and denounce a confusion of roles... and budgets. Certain staff – dependent on the Special Representative, and therefore on the CFSP budget – carry out part of the work assigned to delegation staff. A desired arrangement for greater efficiency; this is also one of the lessons of the first years of existence of this embassy. Only here: the staff of the special representative depends on the CFSP “budget”, that of the delegation on the “administrative budget” of the EEAS. And it's not the same, not the same at all, argue the grumpy people who see a disguised increase in the delegations' budget. An explanation of the text and a clarification is therefore awaited... Let us point out that these two budgets are in fact only budget lines of the same budget, the community budget, voted by the European Parliament.

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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).

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