Ever heard of the European External Action Service (EEAS)? Probably most people have not. But it exists, courtesy of the European Union’s new constitution, smuggled in as the Lisbon Treaty of 2009.
This treaty created the post of EU President, and mysteriously, an unknown Belgian named Herman Van Rompuy appeared as EU President. Shortly after, an unknown (and never elected) Briton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, was conjured out of a hat to be the EU’s High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Her appointment also brings with it the role of Vice President of the EU Commission. Her department was to become the European External Action Service, launched on 1 December 2010, and eventually to have a staggering annual budget of £5.8 billion. Its new headquarters in Brussels costs £10.5 million a year in rent alone.
It has an army of ambassadors across 137 embassies with up to 7,000 EU bureaucrats trained to pursue the EU’s foreign policy objectives. It will dwarf Britain’s diplomatic corps, which has 4,800 diplomats. The largest EU diplomatic mission is in Turkey with 132 staff and the second largest is in the US with 124 diplomats. Barbados has 46, Ukraine 95, Bosnia Herzegovina 92 and even the tiny island of Vanuatu with a population of 200,000 will have 6.
Nowhere called home
Two-thirds of the diplomats are career EU bureaucrats trained to have no thought or consideration for their home country and taught to refer to their home nation simply as “the country I know best”. One member of the staff of unelected EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, was appointed EU Ambassador to the US and immediately told the US press that he was empowered to speak not only on behalf of the EU President and the EU Commission but also on behalf of member states.
The Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, comprising the foreign ministers of member states and chaired by Ashton, governs the EEAS on foreign policy. But the EEAS is considered unique and independent from other EU institutions. It also brings together intelligence and security services with information pooled across the EU.
The EEAS by its very nature, as well as that of the EU Presidency, suggests the creation of a single EU state with no role for national governments, nor even the vaguest form of bourgeois “democracy” for the working classes of member states. It is a further withdrawal of bourgeois democracy. At least British Foreign Secretary Hague has to go to Parliament to explain or justify his latest intervention.
No such mechanism exists with the EEAS. So it should matter to workers in Britain and the EU. And yet, it could be a folly that helps to bring the whole EU pack of cards down. Just imagine the sight of the EU throwing its weight around against Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Argentina or whoever, as its own member states are expelled from the eurozone or the EU itself collapses due to its own financial crisis – while the EEAS budget mushrooms to become bigger than the GDP of some nations. ■