Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Who will be in the External Action Service?

Thanks to MEP Martin Ehrenhauser (independent), we now have access to a list of Commission & Council units that will be placed under the External Action Service of the EU as soon as it is functional.

Note: In the online registry of the Council, this document is not public. Why?


Macarena Rodríguez said...

I don't understand the Councyl policy on transparency... it is an issue you have raised some times. When they will wake up?

Julien Frisch said...

It is a threefold problem:

a) The Council as intergovernmental body is rather a diplomatic institution - and diplomacy has never been transparent.

b) The culture in the member states is quite different. You have stronger notions of transparency in the Nordic countries and a culture of secrecy in countries like Germany. Finding majorities against intransparency.

c) Part of the power of the Council lies in its intransparency. If you work on certain issues for a long time you can create interlocked and well-established compromises that are hard to disentangle when they become public. Criticism then can easily be refuted with the argument that these were difficult compromises that shouldn't be re-negotiated. If the Council was public, it had to deal with public criticism from the first day, weakening its standing with regard to the European Parliament.