Lawyers Reveal Ashton’s EEAS Proposal Breaches EU Law

2010-04-26 11:42:03 / News read 1421 reading

Development NGOs demand urgent revision of the current proposal as it puts world’s poorest at risk. 



Development organizations from across Europe and beyond call for an urgent review of the proposal on

the European External Action Service (EEAS) by foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, at the EU Foreign

Ministers’ meeting today in Luxembourg. The blueprint breaches the Lisbon Treaty and goes against common

EU interest and that of the world’s poorest, NGOs warn.




What are the lawyers saying?

-  “The role of the EEAS under the Treaties is restricted to the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy

(CFSP), which represents only part of the EU’s external action. Development cooperation is outside the

scope of the CFSP and therefore the EEAS has no capacity in respect of it.” (1.2)

-   “The Ashton proposal, which is intended as an instrument setting out the organisation and functioning

of the EEAS, cannot alter areas of competence as defined under the Treaties, such as the ‘exclusive

competence’ of the Commission in development cooperation activities. Detracting from the exclusive

competence of the Commission would require a formal Treaty amendment.” (3.11)

“As primary law the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is binding on all EU institutions

and therefore irrespective of whether the EEAS becomes involved in development cooperation activities,

poverty reduction must remain the ‘primary objective’.” (4.1)



What is Baroness Ashton putting on the table?

-  EEAS to have unprecedented control over development cooperation and its budget.

-  To mix intergovernmental and community policy.

-  To make poverty reduction objectives subject to foreign policy interests.




What are NGOs calling for?

Development organisations are calling for a complete review of Ashton’s proposal which involves all

stakeholders: European Commission, European Council, European Parliament, and civil society, to ensure


-  The spirit and letter of the Lisbon Treaty are fully respected.

-  The European Commission maintains full control over the development budget.

-  The binding objective of “poverty eradication” towards developing countries is fully respected.


Laura Sullivan, European Policy and Campaigns Manager,

ActionAid International – Camilo Tovar, Coordinador

Representación en Europa, Asociacion Latinoamericana de Organizaciones de Promocion del Desarrollo 

Matyas Benyik, President, ATTAC Hungary

Nick Roseveare, Chief Executive, Bond UK

Tommaso Rondinella, Policy Officer, Campagna Sbilanciamoci, Italy – Bernd Nilles, Secretary General, CIDSE –

Rina Valeur Rasmussen, Secretary

General, Concord Danmark – Jean‐Louis Vielajus, President, Coordination SUD

Simon Stocker, Director, Eurostep 

Dr. V Rukmini Rao, President, Gramya Resource Centre for Women, India – Vagn Berthelsen, Secretary General, IBIS,Denmark

Marcin Wojtalik, Board Member, Institute of Global Responsibility, Poland

Vicky Claeys, Regional Director, IPPF European Network

Michael Gatt, Treasurer/ Board Member, Kopin, Malta

Dr. Arjun Karki, Coordinator, LDC watch

Geetha Lakmini, Admin Secretary, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka

Malgorzata Tarasiewicz, Director, Network of East‐West Women/NEWW‐Polska

Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International

Dr. Sarba Raj Khadka, Coordinator, South Asian Alliance

for Poverty Eradication – Gideon Rabinowitz, Coordinator, UK Aid Network

Herman Kumara, General Secretary, World Forum of Fisher Peoples' [WFFP]





Roeland Scholtalbers, +32477068384

Angela Corbalan,, +32473562260





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