Sunday

26th Jan 2020

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.

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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.

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