Lords warns European Parliament on recruitment of new European diplomatic corps

12 October 2010

The House of Lords EU Sub Committee on Foreign Affairs has alerted the European Parliament to its strong concerns over moves to use a system of national quotas to pick the staff of Europe’s new foreign service – the European External Action Service.

The Committee, which scrutinises the EU’s foreign affairs initiatives, insists that all appointments must be made on merit alone.

The warning comes as the European Parliament approaches its final decision on recruitment rules for the new External Action Service.

Lord Teverson, Chairman of the Committee, commented:

“Having finally got the Lisbon Treaty ratified so it can create an effective foreign presence, a quota system for recruits risks suffocating it at birth.

“With a rising Asia and the USA looking more to the Pacific than the Atlantic, it is imperative that Europe’s new External Action Service gets the best people available to join its ranks.  That’s exactly what won’t happen if we go down the route of quotas - insisting on a balanced number of diplomats from all of Europe’s 27 member states. 

“European quotas, whether geographical or political, mean mediocrity.  Too many of Europe’s institutions have suffered from quotas in the past.  Recruitment to this new diplomatic corps must be solely on merit.

“In this instance the European Parliament should think very carefully as it moves towards its final vote”.

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