Wednesday

23rd Oct 2019

Letter

Unsubstantiated tittle-tattle from anonymous 'sources'

Your article "Staff leaving EU diplomatic service amid bad working conditions" is riddled with inaccuracies and appears to be based entirely on unsubstantiated tittle-tattle from anonymous 'sources'.

As in any organisation, there is a certain level of staff turnover, and the article admits that the number of people leaving the European External Action Service is well below what could be regarded a reason to worry.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

People change jobs within the EU institutions – that is quite normal. You say three people 'quit the cabinet'. The people who left the cabinet did so to move onto other senior jobs as a normal part of their career progression.

The article produces absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back the journalist's assertion that anybody left because they did not like their jobs.

The attribution of critical quotations to unnamed 'sources' is extremely weak, to say the least.

Your claim that 'staff do not know who does what in the organisation' is nonsense. Anyone in any doubt simply has to look at the freely-available organisation chart.

Relations between the High Representative and her cabinet and the rest of the staff are very good and the service is now achieving excellent results – witness the recent policy initiatives on Libya or the work done on the Middle East Peace Process.

I have yet to meet anyone who 'cannot get access to email' or who does 'not have a working telephone on their desk'.

Neither reimbursements for foreign missions nor medical fees are paid late. I can say from personal experience that I always receive mine in good time.

All EU delegations have the technology to transmit restricted documents and those that need to do so can take information up to the level of secret.

Your claim that ex-Commission staff get preferential treatment from the Commission's human resources department is ridiculous. The EEAS has its own HR service.

The article talks about Member State diplomats being 'parachuted' into the EEAS. That is the whole point. The agreement on setting up the EEAS was that at least one third of its staff should come from the Member States by 2013. We are well on the way to achieving that target.

The notion that other EU institutions are somehow attempting to usurp the EEAS is laughable. The role of the EEAS is set out in black and white in the Lisbon Treaty.

I would be grateful if you would publish this letter, in order to put the record straight.

Nine months into its life, the EEAS is up to cruising speed and doing effective work around the world on behalf of the EU27.

Michael Mann, Spokesperson of High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton, Brussels

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Ashton chooses €12-million-a-year EU headquarters

The EU's new diplomatic service is to be housed in the so-called Triangle building in the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned in the lobby in December.

UK snubs Ashton over EU military headquarters

British foreign minister William Hague on Monday said his country would "never" agree to the idea of a single EU military headquarters to replace the command centres scattered around five member states. The idea is part of a report prepared by EU foreign and security policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Europe's empty fortress

It is too easy only to criticise the rightists and their fixation with barbed wire, Trump for his wall on the border with Mexico, Orban for his xenophobia.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs criticise Juncker over climate and tax policies
  2. Juncker defends commission record on Greek crisis
  3. Croatian MEP criticises EU parliament for trusting Šuica
  4. Brexit is waste of time and energy, says Juncker
  5. Abortion and same-sex marriage become legal in Northern Ireland
  6. Germany wants internationally controlled zone in Syria
  7. EU parliament refuses to debate Catalonia
  8. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder

Defending the defenders: ombudsmen need support

Ombudsmen are often coming under attack or facing different kinds of challenges. These can include threats, legal action, reprisals, budget cuts or a limitation of their mandate.

Column

The benefits of being unpopular

Paradoxically, the lack of popularity may be part of the strength of the European project. Citizens may not be super-enthusiastic about the EU, but when emotions run too high in politics, hotheads may take over.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. EU open to imminent Brexit extension, Tusk indicates
  2. EU centrists ally with far right on migrant rescues
  3. MPs vote on Johnson's latest push for Brexit deal
  4. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  5. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  6. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  7. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget
  8. Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us