Turf wars within the EU


From Stephen Castle, the International Herald Tribune:  There are few better illustrations of those continuing turf wars than the reaction to the death of Bin Laden.

The first E.U. pronouncements were issued by Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, even though he has very few foreign policy powers. His two declarations were followed by a joint statement from José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council.

In their statement, Mr. Barroso and Mr. Van Rompuy asserted that the death had made “the world a safer place and shows that such crimes do not remain unpunished.” They described the operation as “a major achievement in our efforts to rid the world of terrorism.”

One E.U diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said, “Getting agreement on this was not easy, but the one thing they really did agree on was on doing this without Ashton.” Both men see themselves as being senior to [EU Foreign Policy Chief CatherineAshton because they operate on the level of world leaders, while her main counterparts are foreign ministers.

A further statement was circulated by the E.U., this one from the counterterrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, before Ms. Ashton’s emerged sometime after 8 p.m. Though positive, it was less enthusiastic and more sensitive to reservations felt in some countries about the manner of Bin Laden’s death.  (via Global Europe)

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