Saturday

25th Feb 2017

EU to create new human rights envoy

The EU will beef up its foreign affairs team within weeks by hiring a Special Representative for Human Rights (EUSR), according to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

Ashton spoke on Tuesday (12 June) in the European Parliament in response to a recommendation by MEPs on the foreign affairs committee to create the post.

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.

The envoy is to represent the EU in international discussions and be expected to engage with the UN, to chair high-level human rights dialogues and to lead consultations with third countries on human rights issues, the committee says.

The post is to be created by EU foreign ministers on 25 June as part of a wholescale "human rights review."

MEPs have been calling for an EU post focusing on human rights since 2010. They also want the nominee to appear at a hearing of the foreign affairs committee before taking up office.

The EUSR would report to Ashton and work closely with her service on the model of existing EUSRs for conflict hotpsots, such as Afghanistan or Kosovo, or issues such as the Middle East peace process and Arab Spring fall out.

Parliament on Wednesday endorsed Spanish centre-right MEP Jose Salafranca's blueprint for the job.

It says the new envoy should have "a strong, independent and flexible mandate" which should "reflect EU human rights policy and cover areas that include strengthening democracy, international justice, humanitarian law, abolition of the death penalty, freedom of expression, gender issues and children and armed conflict."

They will be appointed for an initial two and a half year term, renewable once.

Ashton on Tuesday paid "credit to parliament for championing this idea" and said it now commands "broad consensus across the political spectrum."

"I am looking for somebody with an established track record, real experience in human rights and strong understanding of European Union policy," she said.

Some MEPs expressed concern about the cost of the envoy, however. The European Commission still has to produce information on the new official's precise tasks and size of the secretariat that will be available to them.

Investigation

EU ambassadors trickle back to Minsk

All EU ambassadors are returning to Minsk in a bid to improve deteriorating relations with Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko, in power for the past 18 years.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations