23rd Oct 2016

German and Pole join roll-call of Ashton lieutenants

  • EU flag: Italy, the Nordic countries and Spain have got scooped any top jobs so far (Photo: European Commission)

German EU Council official Helga Schmid and Polish European Parliament staffer Maciej Popowski are to become deputy secretary generals in the European External Action Service (EEAS).

EEAS chief Catherine Ashton made the announcement in an emailed statement to press in Brussels on Friday (29 October), saying: "Their experience and expertise will help us to build the External Action Service that Europe can be proud of."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Ms Schmid, a 49-year-old career German diplomat who worked alongside the eminent former foreign minister Joschka Fischer in 1998 and who has worked as the main expert on former Soviet counties in the EU Council since 2005 is to become the political affairs lieutenant.

Mr Popowski, 46, a former Polish diplomat who joined the European Commission in 2008 before switching to work as head of cabinet of European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek in 2009 is to look after inter-institutional affairs.

Both jobs are in the €14,700 to €18,000 a month pay scale and involve "extensive travel."

Ms Schmid will be responsible for formulating EU foreign policy alongside Ms Ashton, including on multilateral issues such as G8 and G20 summits. Mr Popowski will help co-ordinate the work of the EEAS crisis-management department and its geographic directorates, as well as EEAS co-operation with the European Commission and its so-called Echo humanitarian aid wing.

Ms Ashton earlier this week named French diplomat Pierre Vimont as EEAS secretary general and Irishman David O'Sullivan as budgets and personnel chief.

Putting together the various bits of the EEAS jigsaw puzzle, she has also chosen to rent the €12 million a year Axa or Triangle building on the Rond Point Schuman in the heart of the EU district in Brussels as her headquarters.

Ms Ashton is expected to name five more senior EEAS managers before the end of the year or in early 2011. She is also to hire an extra 90-or-so senior diplomats for EEAS foreign delegations, such as Belarus and Brazil.

The EEAS will be formally launched at a small ceremony in Brussels on 1 December, but it will take until at least April to pull operations together in the Triangle base.

The recent round of appointments means that most of the EU's big countries - France, Germany, Poland and the UK (Ms Ashton is British) - have a stake in the service. Small EU countries are to be reassured by the Irish nomination. New EU members can look to the Polish post.

Italy, the Nordic countries and Spain are yet to get senior posts, however.


Cyprus seeks EU support on reunification

EU states should be "more vocal" with Turkey and play a more political role on reunification, Cyprus' EU ambassador told EUobserver.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity