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European External Action Service

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European External Action Service

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Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore)

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Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore)

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Eamon Gilmore

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Snippet Contents:

A number of member States have suggested that the EU External Action Service should have greater control over the European Union’s Neighbourhood Policy and development aid budget in the context of the EEAS Review. Ireland is supportive of a strong EEAS that fulfils the vision set out in the Lisbon Treaty of an effective and coherent EU foreign policy. The EEAS has achieved much in its first two years of operation. Ireland believes that the focus for now should be on consolidating the progress made to date and improving coordination mechanisms, in particular with the European Commission.
As regards the European Neighbourhood Policy, we believe that the current arrangements whereby the EEAS and the Commission jointly represent EU member States in relation to this Policy have worked well to date. The Neighbourhood has been identified as a priority area of work for the High Representative and the EEAS. There are also important linkages between neighbourhood and enlargement policy, for which the Commission has overall responsibility. While an expansion of the EEAS role in this area might be a logical development over the longer term, in the short to medium term the focus should be on ensuring coherence and effectiveness of EU policy, regardless of whether the EEAS or Commission is in the lead. There may also be scope for further developing the High Representative’s double-hatted role as Vice President of the Commission.
As regards the EU’s development policy, Ireland believes that the new arrangements on the functioning of the EEAS will over time assist in the more effective integration of development into the EU’s overall external relations and improve the effectiveness of both development policy and broader foreign policy. We would hope to see, in particular, a more central focus on poverty reduction. We welcome the progress that has been made in increasing cooperation between EU delegations and member State missions through the new joint programming initiative which is being rolled out on a trial basis in partner countries. EU Delegations have successfully taken on a co-ordination role in many of the pilot countries and will help ensure that the EU speaks with one voice in partner countries.
Ireland is taking an active interest in the EEAS Review, which was also the subject of discussions at the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Dublin on 22-23 March. We look forward to hearing the proposals of the High Representative in due course.