By Marta Andreasen MEP
This week the European Parliament voted on the remaining parts of the implementation of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The EEAS is the biggest bureaucratic power grab resulting from the Lisbon Treaty. You no doubt remember all the hype as the pundits speculated on who would become president of Europe, would it be Blair or other well known names, and the phrase that was used was someone stopping traffic in far flung places.
Well, alongside the president almost unnoticed came the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the other “traffic stopper” Kathy Ashton (pictured with EP president Buzek, 20.10.2010
) of CND fame who now, in the EEAS, is creating what is becoming a very significant bureaucratic empire. The outline has already been laid down in the European Parliament with the Brok report which was passed in July.
Now comes the budget and the staff and this is what I am sorry to say the Parliament has just voted 578 to 39 with my party UKIP being a large part of the 39. As sold to the people of Europe the EEAS was meant to be budget neutral, in other words resources would be taken from national diplomatic services and moved over to the EEAS and the European nations would have a more efficient representation across the world with a blue flag outside. That’s not how it is working out.
Already Ashton has asked for a budget increase of 34 million euros on top of the 441 million they already planned.
But it gets worse, when fully operational 60% of the staff must come from the European Institutions, not from national diplomatic services.
The EEAS is expected to have a staff of 7000 when it is fully operational. It is also projected to have a budget of €7 billion.
That is not all. Almost unnoticed in this week’s report was a statement by the Commission expressing intent to integrate the European Development Fund (EDF) into the EU’s budget in 2013. Even though a heading has been reserved for the Fund in the Community budget since 1993 following a request by the European Parliament, the EDF still does not come under the Community’s general budget.
What is this EDF? It is the aid that the governments of Europe give to the African, Caribbean and Pacific states under the Cotonou agreement. In the current programme from 2008 to 2013 it will give €22 billion. It is funded by the Member States, is subject to its own financial rules and is managed by a specific committee. In other words the EU wants to take €3.8 billion per annum that is administered by the national governments and transfer it to the EU budget for the EEAS.
If it is already working why do this? The answer is obvious, it increases the EU’s budget and power and gives the High Representative added influence on the world stage. The purpose of this power is to strengthen the Union by making it the point of contact for more people throughout the world. In this way it will be made more palatable to the peoples of Europe.