An EU foreign policy


              I have been making enquiries about the build up of the EU External Action service. In the UK there is a tendency  to play this down, to say that it is limited in scale and will not detract from our own Foreign Office and foreign policy.

              According to the EU’s website 1525 staff transferred to the new External Action Service when it was set up last year. They recruited another 118 staff immediately.

               The EU now has 130 Embassies around the world, covering all the important countries and global institutions, and many smaller countries as well. The European Parliament reports that the aim is ” to set up numerous delegations to third countries and to international organisaitons  … a network with approximately 5000 staff” .

                   As the official EU site says,  the purpose is the “conduct of the Union’s common foreign and security policy”. The External Action Service a “a functionally autonomous body of the EU”. The High Representative or EU Foreign Secretary is also President of Foreign Affairs Council, acting as Chairman to all the Foreign Ministers of the Member states.

                      The External Action Service states “The policy mix is vast, ranging from bilateral agreements to guidelines and legislation”. The Service controls the substantial EU aid budget. It also works with the army units available for EU missions, subject to Member state approval.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Anyone who still thinks that the EU is not likely to become a single socialist non democratic country is clearly deluding themselves. Can anything be done to stop this I tend to think not?

    I see from yesterday’s election result that Tories are not politically very popular with their socialist light, anti business, big government, big tax, expensive energy, pro EU approach. Just imagine how less popular they will be after four years of this approach. As it becomes very clear to the voters that it has failed to deliver much in the way or jobs or growth over four years and many businesses and successful individuals have left for good.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Some good news at last Mark Thompson is demanding cuts of 20% across the board at the “institutionally” left wing and hugely bloated BBC (now apparently ageist too). He could make a very good start by reducing his salary/pension package to about 10% of its current absurd level and ensuring that no one else receives any more than him.

      Many would say he would still be somewhat over paid even then.

      • andrew williams
        Posted January 14, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        Be careful you don’t fight yesterdays battles. Mark Thompson has been the first DG to look seriously at the question of bias. Here are two points he made recently
        1. “Avoiding party political bias is a subset and only a subset of impartiality.”
        “It’s possible for all major parties to agree on a given subject and for there still to be a legitimate opposing view which should be heard and scrutinised’
        2.”‘People sometimes confuse impartiality with centrism, ie a bias towards more “moderate” world-views as opposed to more “radical” ones.’
        It would be typical of conservative voters to wish the abolishment of an institution just at the moment when that institution was looking at more fairly representing their views.

        • Ken
          Posted January 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          But my impression is that Mark Thompson, although recognising the problem, has been fighting a losing battle over this matter with his staff for years and things don’t seem to be getting any better.

          To me, the fact that the BBC virtually ignored the European Union Bill debate speaks volumes.

          The BBC has been dragging politicians of all parties into a Centre Left huddle (those of the Far Left are also affected). This unfairly marginalises conviction politicians.

          Trouble is, the British people are dragging their heals and we are left with an ever widening gap between what the People want and what they are getting from ‘mainstream’ (i.e. BBC-friendly) politicians with the gap especially acute in England.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 16, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

          I think it is hard for him to reform when almost all the reporters they employ seem to think in the same Guardian thinks way – it is evident in almost every question they ask.

          They are pro EU, pro the global warming agenda and pro an ever bigger state. The bias on these issues is absolutely overwhelming.

          Anyway there are plenty of people who could do a better job as Director General – many of whom would do the job for nothing, not the several millions he will take pay and pensions combined.

  2. APL
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    JR: “In the UK there is a tendency to play this down, ”

    Ha ha ha ha!

    ALL MPs play down the impact of the Lisbon treaty and its effect ot introduce the EU as a legally recognised NATION State.

    Why it was even denied on this very blog by it’s author.
    Reply: Not so.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    More jobs for the boys and girls.

    More money on wages, salaries, buildings, expenses etc.

    Seems just like a doubling up operation of a service which every Country already has (Foreign Office and Foreign Aid). but then what do you expect.
    See they now also want to verify each Countries Budgets, before they are put before the Parliaments in each Member Country (Telegraph today)

    Clearly the EU will want its own policy for its own Foreign office, but what happens when our own Foreign Office has a different Policy requirement, do they argue against each other in Public or in private, and who’s policy is employed.

    Clearly our own Baroness (head of Euroland Foreign policy) could argue our case, but only if she is present at meetings, as it has been reported that she has the lowest attendance of any in this organisation.

    Foreign Aid.
    We have our own budget, do we also contribute to the EU Foreign Aid budget, thus increasing our total contribution to Foreign aid.

    See Mr Van Rompuy is concerned at the amount of Euro Debt the Chinese are purchasing (todays telegraph) perhaps they may have an unwanted influence in years to come, or are manipulating the currency rates now by such action.

    Why are MP’s so blind to all of this cost, waste, confusion, control, and above all risk.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Ashton’s duty is to the EU as a whole, and it would be wrong – a breach of the treaties – if she ever departed from that to argue our case.

  4. Peter Richmond
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    ‘autonomous”! Not accountable to anyone or any body? Ms Ashton would seem to be following in the footsteps of Rome, Charlemagne, Philip II of Spain, Louis 14, Napoleon (etc ed).

  5. Demetrius
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The Brussels Raj?

  6. Scottspeig
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Please will you move to remove your existing leader and put in place a real Conservative? Such as yourself? Or one of the other Eurosceptics left in the Conservative party?

    • Ken
      Posted January 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      I don’t suppose that’s going to happen.

      However I think we do have the right for John Redwood or Bill Cash to be in the cabinet (if they accept that is!)

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      No need to remove the leader – he is good at PR speeches and all the PM type guff they have to do well when someone dies or we get deluged with ice and snow or something.

      John just needs to choose the direction and hold the reins steady.

  7. David John Wilson
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    This looks like an opportunity for the UK to reduce the amount that it spends on its embassies by taking handing over those functions which can be relinquished without detrement to the British position in the country involved.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      They are bound to claim they need both embassies and probably a special quango in each country just to coordinate the two.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday evening, I had the shock of watching the famous chef, Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall, standing outside the enormous glass edifice of the European Commission addressing oncoming MEPs, and Commissioners and other Important (unelected) People about the appalling and disgusting waste perpetrated by their ridiculous and ignorant rules about our erstwhile fishing industry.
    What staggered me was their sheer rudeness. It was the rudeness of the unelected bureaucrat, ignorant, careless of other people’s hope and fears and putting their own safety above all other things.
    When Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall discussed the anger caused by this disgraceful waste with our very own Fisheries Minister outside the House of Commons, the Minister did at least have the politeness to dress up his words carefully. He, of course, meant that he can’t do anything about it. But if you weren’t listening carefully, you might have got the impression that the anti-green, anti-ecology waste of tons and tons of good fish was just about to end.
    Now you speak about these unelected and uncontrollable Eurocrats taking over our Diplomatic Service.
    Honestly, we deserve all we get!

    • Ken
      Posted January 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      I wish him well but the saddest thing is that a tv presenter has more political clout than my MP.

      Something is wrong.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 14, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall and Sardines. Teenagers hate fish.

  9. stred
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Just trying to work out my self assessment Income Tax. Nice to know this extra service is available in case of trouble abroad. Perhaps I should add a discretionary payment?

  10. Scooper
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    The clear intention here is to undermine national policy and to make EU policy prime. Yet again it is an example of power and influence being passed to Brussels without any form of resistance from our Government, and to make it even worse, power is handed to the dreadful and unelected Cathy Ashton.

    Remind me again why all this is allowed to happen unopposed?

  11. Tom
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I read a couple of months ago that the EU planned to open an embassy in Burkina Faso, where HMG does not have an embassy there, covering it from Accra. The article said that the EU would send over 50 diplomats and officials there, which sounds absurd until you see the picture of the large embassy on the EU website.

  12. Alte Fritz
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Year on year, what do non EU diplomats think? Whom do they rush to speak to at a party, William Hague or Baroness Ashton?

  13. Liz
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Every new development of the EU is serious as it is all part of the grand plan. Those who do not report or discuss it, notably the BBC, fundamentally support it but know that the general public don’t so censor by omission.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 15, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Agreed the BBC line on the EU is an outrage against the very people who are forced to fund them under threat of imprisonment. Are they being paid much by the EU or is it just that they only recruit pro EU types from adverts in the Guardian?

      • Ken
        Posted January 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        The BBC did receive several millions from the eu quango in easy loans. It has also received grants from the eu.

        I think the bulk of the money came from the European Investment Bank. One of its stated aims is to [further] “European integration by promoting EU policies”.

        The BBC also won an award from the eu for its eu coverage.

        I doubt if we’ll see this mentioned on the Today programme!

      • Tom
        Posted January 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        The answer is a simple yes. In 2008 it was realed that the BBC had taken out £141 million in soft loans from the EIB (European Investment Bank). The EIB describes itself as “an autonomous body set up to finance investment furthering European integration by promoting EU policies”.

        The BBC naturally denied that this affected their editorial policies.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Just how cheaply can a country be bought the odd BBC loan here, the odd duck house there and the odd reduced tax EU job/pension there so much cheaper and more pleasant than guns planes and tanks.

  14. Deborah
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    So we must assume that when William Hague and David Cameron said
    “we will not let matters rest ”
    what they really meant was
    “we will not do anything to stop the relentless EU steamroller”

  15. Ken
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    What is so frustrating is the sheer waste of our money. The large states like France, Germany and the UK will ensure that this service will have no meaningful political role especially with larger countries. That is why they only allowed a low-key appointment as High Representative.

    Having said that we are still seeing the build up of an institution that, although not taken seriously at present, has the potential to be a further threat to our sovereignty. It also threatens to accelerate global protectionism.

    The British people are not suffering from apathy over this issue. It is worse than that. It is my belief we are suffering from ignorance. We are not being told what is going on and, as long as the BBC keeps this information from us, there is no effective medium to get the message across.

    • Vivid
      Posted January 15, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Except for the internet ; – (free flow of thoughts and information)

  16. electro-kevin
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Your party’s promises on the EU. And the closure of three prisons. And the reduction in prison sentencing. Who – when voting Conservative – thought they were signing up for this ?
    (Ken Clarke on Radio 4 the other Day says that DC is well up for it.)

    Your party and your PM is fake.

  17. Tony T
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    And all we have is a weak and spineless coalition led by a man unable to beat the worst prime minister ever to hold office. We are being sold down the river every single day by our politicians for their benefit. I would move abroad in a second if I had the means. By the time I get the means it will probably be too late, we’ll need official permission just to visit Bognor Regis.

  18. Iain
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    We can appreciate the problem, trouble is when we think we have elected EUsceptic MP’s, with the majority party of a coalition that is supposed to be EUsceptic, as soon as you lot cross the threshold of Parliament you bloody native on us. It was Cameron and Hague who signed us up to the EU Foreign Office and Conservative MP’s, bar a handful, that dutifully trooped through the lobbies to vote for it.

    So don’t come bleating to us about problems with the EU, we appreciate the problems, but we did our bit, we voted for Conservative MP’s that are supposed to be EUsceptic, we voted for a manifesto that said… ‘We will ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament.’ the side that is letting us down is you lot in Parliament.

    We have given you the Sovereignty, all it requires if for you lot in Parliament to summon the will and the desire to do something about it. Its time you MP’s started thinking for yourselves and stop subcontracting your will and votes to the whips for the benefit of the Dear Leader who doesn’t like us Sour faced little Englander who are Tory Taliban and swivel eyed closet racists or you.

  19. steveredfern
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Perhaps, providing the electoral reforms are not talked out in the Lords, the inbuilt electoral bias favouring Labour inner-city small contituencies will soon end. Then we will have a chance to have a proper change of direction and escape the EUSSR.

  20. Derek Buxton
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The commentors unlike the MSMm including the BBC have got the message. It is not so difficult after all, the EU wants full authority over all people in it’s supposed area. Why does Cameron not understand this? The ignorance amongst the public is deliberate, no MP tells it as it is, at least in this country. The EU “elite” are very forthcoming about what they expect, full integration and harmonisation and I have no doubt the French PM told Cameron. I expect Cameron, on his past record, agreed!

  21. Mark
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help feeling that the EEAS will spend most of its time spying on the activities of member states in the various countries in which they are represented.

  22. Dave
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    How long, I wonder, before the insidious and perfidious nature of the EU’s undemocratic cancer spreads to countries outside of those countries that form the current contiguous landmass of the EU. The EU has already stretched its tentacles to Turkey. Next, I’m sure, will be Tunisia. After that, the first to succumb from the Commonwealth of Nations will be Fiji – it’s been expelled from the Commonwealth pending a new democratic government, so what a sitting duck it is for the eurocrats.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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