From Catherine Ashton, the EU: As promised to member states, the European Parliament and EU citizens, I have appointed the best people for the right jobs. I am extremely pleased by the calibre of those who applied for the posts.
I have consistently asked member states and the EU institutions to put forward the brightest and best that Europe has to offer and I hope this will continue to be the case as we build the new European External Action Service, because EU citizens deserve to be represented by the best that Europe has to offer.
I am pleased that we have made a start to address the important issues of geographical and gender balance. These appointments show an improvement in both, but there is more to do. I will be discussing with member states how we can continue to improve and achieve my ambition of a service that is truly representative and appointed on merit.
Excerpt from statement by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President, Catherine Ashton.
From Honor Mahony, EUobserver: Of the 28 heads of delegation and one deputy head named to date, 13 appointments are national diplomats and 16 are EU officials. Four of the appointees are from new member states while 22 of the posts went to men and seven to women. …
The top strategic post of EU ambassador to Bejing went to Markus Ederer, a career diplomat currently heading the planning unit in the German foreign ministry.
Austria’s Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, currently the country’s ambassador to the EU, scooped Tokyo, while Dutch diplomat Roeland van de Geer, who currently serves as EU Special Representative for the Great Lakes region, will head to South Africa.
Of the newer member states, Poland won both South Korea and Jordan, a Bulgarian will head to Georgia and a Lithuanian diplomat was earlier in the year nominated for Afghanistan. …
Sources close to Ms Ashton noted there were clusters of member states interested in certain jobs. While old member states battled for jobs in Asia, most new member states – 12 since 2004 – tried to snag jobs with neighbouring counties, with several competing for each of the available posts.
Meanwhile, posts in African, Carribean and Pacific countries were largely ignored by national governments and most of them went to EU officials.
The Brazil and Iraq posts as well as the deputy ambassador to Washington will all be re-advertised as "suitable" candidates were not found. (photo: ec.europa.eu)