Ashton discusses with EU parliaments their goals for a 21st century foreign service

The High Representative of the EU for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, attended the Congress of Deputies in Madrid this Thursday to discuss with the EU Foreign Affairs Committee Chairpersons (COFACC), the priorities of her term of office, among which she stressed creating a 21st century foreign service.

Her two priorities, she explained, will be neighbourly relations with the Balkans, the Ukraine, the Mediterranean, and strategic relations with third countries, in particular, those which are becoming regional powers, such a China, India, Brazil or South Africa.

With the strategic partners she will try, she said, to nurture direct economic and political relations, but also to strengthen the ties for co-operating in matters of global stability and crisis management.

Ashton reported than in April, she will travel to China, which is an essential strategic partner, and now there is an opportunity to reinforce this relationship.
The deputies asked numerous questions about how the future foreign service would work, to which Ashton answered stating “categorically” that it will have transparent budgets and that the delegations heads will attend he European Parliament, which she herself will report to in March on the basic s and that on the basic structure of the service.

Answering questions from a member of parliament, she stated that she is uninterested in national quotas in such foreign service, although she was in favour of a certain positive discrimination toward women.

The foreign service, she said, will be an umbrella for European Union action.
Among the immediate plans, she reported on to the members of parliament are a trip in 10 days to the Middle East, where she expects Europe to become involved in a more effective manner

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