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Is Britain trying to take over EU foreign policy?

Yet another Catherine Ashton controversy: A confidential German foreign ministry document analysing the creation of the EU’s new diplomatic service, seen by the Guardian, has concluded that Britain has grabbed an "excessive" and "over-proportionate" role. Berlin and Paris are anxious that they are losing the battle to win key positions in the new service which ...

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Yet another Catherine Ashton controversy:

A confidential German foreign ministry document analysing the creation of the EU's new diplomatic service, seen by the Guardian, has concluded that Britain has grabbed an "excessive" and "over-proportionate" role.

Berlin and Paris are anxious that they are losing the battle to win key positions in the new service which is to be the main vehicle for projecting European power globally under the Lisbon Treaty.

Yet another Catherine Ashton controversy:

A confidential German foreign ministry document analysing the creation of the EU’s new diplomatic service, seen by the Guardian, has concluded that Britain has grabbed an "excessive" and "over-proportionate" role.

Berlin and Paris are anxious that they are losing the battle to win key positions in the new service which is to be the main vehicle for projecting European power globally under the Lisbon Treaty.

Brussels is currently embroiled in tense negotiations to establish its first worldwide diplomatic corps and integrated foreign policy apparatus, known as the European External Action Service (EEAS). It is to be led by Lady Ashton, the EU’s new high representative for foreign and security policy.

"Excessive GB participation [in the EEAS] is evident," says the German document. "Over-proportionate GB influence on the establishment [of the EEAS] and staffing is to be avoided."

Ashton’s beein taking an extraordinary amount of heat since taking over and it’s not quite, some of which probably has less to do with her than with the sisyphean job she’s been given to do as the EU’s first High Representative.  As one German MEP put it: "Baroness Ashton has been given an absolutely impossible task."

Whether or not all the criticism is far, Ashton doesn’t seem to be all that intersted in counteracting it. She’s not quoted in the Guardian story or in much of the coverage surroudding her various controversies. It may be time for the Baroness to go on the offensive.   

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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