EEAS High Representative

The glass half full

(BRUSSELS2 to Strasbourg) “The glass is half full. And when I say half full, I don't mean half empty”. This is how Elmar Brok, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, describes the state of the European Diplomatic Service (EEAS), on the occasion of the “review” exercise, two and a half years later. its implementation. “ We cannot expect to have complete results in two and a half years when it took 300 years to create the Foreign Office. We must take the positive side of what has been achieved » he underlines. In the Balkans, in Afghanistan, with Iran, the European approach has done a good job”. And to be in false against certain criticisms coming from the Member States. " These criticisms also relate to their concern to see their rights preserved, to be involved, to have their own officials in the service. They don't look for improvements »

Improvements…

Elmar Brok, however, considers it necessary to " make improvements in the structure, in the choice of personnel, in the management structure. And the EEAS is not yet as effective as it should be. Between the Commission and the EEAS, cooperation does not really work well.” This observation does not stop at structures. In terms of defense policy, things are slipping… “For example, for Mali, the decision to act was recognized in October. But it wasn't until January that the decision was made. (...) Battlegroups only exist on paper! Permanent structured cooperation is not yet formalized, etc. ".

Simplify the EEAS organization chart

« We do not want the Service to be a new institution, but at the service of other institutions, in a community spirit. For us, the High Representative is (above all) the Vice-President of the European Commission, a commissioner in charge of external relations issues ". explained the Italian Roberto Gualtieri who co-wrote the report (S&D group). “ We don't want to turn everything upside down ". But there are certain points to change, notably in the organization chart of the EEAS. “ It needs to be simplified. There is a duplication, for example, between the secretary general executive (nb: Pierre Vimont) and the CEO (David O'Sullivan). »

A number 2 for the High Representative

And given the workload that falls to the High Representative, we must create with her (him) “ one or more assistants », which would make it possible to take charge of certain tasks or to represent it externally for example. These deputies could be – as the MEP clarified to B2 – be “either commissioners who would have, in addition to their function, that of deputy high representative; either coming from outside the Commission”. For Elmar Brok, “ having more assistants makes it possible to follow all subjects at a high level. » But the idea of ​​delegating certain tasks to a Minister of Foreign Affairs (often the rotating presidency) does not really meet with his approval. “ This doesn't really work. A minister cannot really be a deputy. He is not involved in all the work carried out upstream.

The details of the MEPs' proposals were detailed in the Club

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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