Eastern EU states battle for posts in new foreign service

"The European Parliament must yet give its approval, in October or November, to the EEAS budget and a staff salary grid."

From AFP:  EU foreign policy supremo Catherine Ashton is gearing up to name her first appointees in the bloc’s new diplomatic corps, but East European states are grumbling big nations are cornering the top jobs.

Though the carve-up of posts in the European External Action Service (EEAS) was not on the agenda of a two-day informal parley of EU foreign ministers winding up Saturday, the issue dominated backroom talk and behind-the-scenes jockeying.

"These talks are taking place in corridors on cellphones and by SMS: we’re all frantically lobbying Cathy Ashton for jobs," said Finland’s Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb. …

But on arriving in Brussels for the foreign ministers’ talks on Friday, several East European officials complained about the likely composition of the governing board as well as the dish-out of jobs in EU offices worldwide.

"It’s unacceptable that new members who’ve been members of this family for some years only have so few, one or two representatives among over a 100 representation offices," said Poland’s Radoslaw Sikorski, whose country joined the bloc along with nine other mostly ex-communist nations in 2004. …

"We were also under-represented because we didn’t have a generation of EU nerds who could take over these posts. It takes a little time to establish yourself in the system," he told AFP.

And it was natural for big EU members to grab top jobs, he added.

"You don’t have an EU foreign policy without France, Germany and the UK," he said.

"If they do not feel that they’re able to direct the system at least a little bit, or if they don’t feel that they get the right personnel in the right places, then we might as well forget about foreign policy."  (photo: EPA/BGNES) (via Global Europe)

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