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General Affairs Council and Foreign Affairs Council

Published on March 26, 2010
Press conference given by Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (excerpts)

Brussels, March 22, 2010

(…)

Q. – Where are we as regards the discussion on the European External Action Service?

THE MINISTER – The current discussion is focusing on the need for the European External Action Service to be in the High Representative’s hands and fact that everything gravitating around it can be discussed. The High Representative is the Vice-President of the Commission; she has to be in charge; the same applies to the appointments, which must not be made by anyone outside.

We think that the distribution between the people proposed by Brussels and the national diplomats is still slightly imbalanced, which we pointed out today. The budget of the whole service must also be made available to the High Representative to give both significance and weight to this European External Action Service. So there’s still some way to go. The discussion hasn’t ended. It can achieve a great deal. To prevent it leading to paralysing competition, we have to succeed in getting harmony between all the parties.

A decision taken with the 27 European Union members by the High Representative will carry a lot of political weight and immediately have a far greater impact. This too is a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty – there’s a small adjustment, one can say, of sovereignty, power, which, wholly understandably, isn’t very easy to make, but that’s how it is. It’s a step forward./.

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