Extracts from the exchange of views on the setting-up of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 22-23 March 2010, with the participation of Catherine Ashton, EP Committee on Foreign Affairs
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 23/03/2010 First transmission: 23/03/2010
On 23 March 2010, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and President of the Council, took part in a plenary session in Brussels. Catherine Ashton, and Members of the EP, talked about the European External Action Service (EEAS) which is one of the innovations of the new Lisbon Treaty, intended as a diplomatic corps that will oversee not only Europe's huge aid and humanitarian budget but also relations with countries around the world. EEAS staff will come from the relevant departments of the European Commission and General Secretariat of the Council and from the Diplomatic Services of EU Member States.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament building, in Brussels
||Soundbite by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC (in ENGLISH): the creation of the External Action Service is a huge chance for Europe; I described it as a once in a generation opportunity to build something that finally brings together all the instruments of our engagement, economic and political instruments, development and crisis management tools in support of a single political strategy.
||Soundbite by Elmar Brok, Chair of the Delegation for relations with the United States (in GERMANY) saying that one serious difficulty is that you now have two legal sources: one is the Council source, the intergovernmental; the other is the Union one. So you have to get co-decisions not between two institutions but three, which is especially hard.
||Soundbite by Guy Verhofstadt, Member of the EP (in ENGLISH): the best solution is that we have an ambitious External Action Service and that we put in it also policies like the neighbourhood policy, the humanitarian aid development, because it is nonsense to have an external action service for example and to have a neighbourhood policy outside of External Action Service; neighbourhood policy is the first region around Europe, so it has to be inside.
||Soundbite Roberto Gualtieri, Member of the EP (in ITALIAN) saying that he thinks it is important to hear from you quite clearly that you are prepared to enter in a real political pact with the Parliament; when a talk of a political pact that would reflect some of the lines of thinking put forward by the rapporteurs just now, particularly when it comes to the legal basis and the specific ways by which they can get this service working together, linked to the Commission but independently, with the necessary financial regulation, ensuring this can work properly.
||Soundbite by Catherine Ashton (in ENGLISH): the control, the policies and so on must fit exactly as the Treaty has indicated into the relevant organisations.
I agree it has got to be ambitious, I agree with Mr. Verhofstadt absolutely, there is no point doing this unless you are ambitious, none at all; on the ground we have to be able to demonstrate that we are absolutely capable of dealing with the issues that concern us, for if we are going to provide security and prosperity for our citizens it is by providing in part security and prosperity and support across the world (2 shots)
||General views of the plenary session (16 shots)