Sunday

23rd Jul 2017

Germany plays down Ashton criticism

  • Schauble (c) in Brussels, the finance minister is Merkel's brain on the EU (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble's criticism of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is being "blown out of proportion", his spokesman has said.

"These were some comments made in the margins of an event to celebrate German Constitution Day in Karlsruhe. They definitely do not represent a co-ordinated attack [on Ashton] by the German government - they have been blown out of proportion," Schauble's spokesman, Martin Kotthaus, told EUobserver on Sunday (29 May).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The criticism was as much about [EU] Council structures as anything else," he noted, referring to problems in consensus-building among the 27 EU member countries.

Kotthaus, who until recently was the spokesman for the German mission to the EU, added: "During my time there, the German foreign ministry was very supportive of the high representative."

For their part, Ashton's staff consider German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle to be one of her principal allies.

Schauble, speaking at the Karlsruhe event on 23 May as part of general musings on the state of the European Union, said the bloc's response to what he called the "Arabellion" has been inadequate.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a leading German daily, cited him as saying that the EU "did not speak with one voice" and that Ashton "does not have the power to portray Europe as an actor."

Schauble is considered in Germany to be the top thinker on EU affairs in Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party despite his domestic portfolio. In 1994, he co-wrote an influential paper with former German president Karl Lamers saying the EU should become a quasi-federal structure.

The FAZ quotes, originally published in the paper's print edition only, were highlighted in British newspapers The Times and the Daily Mail over the weekend.

The Times, which also quoted Ashton-critical remarks by German centre-right MEP Elmar Brok, said Schauble has opened "a new flank of criticism after attacks about her lack of dynamism by French diplomats." It speculated that Ashton might be forced to quit mid-mandate.

The mass-circulation Daily Mail said Ashton is "facing the axe" after "being given the warning by leading German politicians."

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary