A year on, and still failing

The European External Action Service has had a difficult first 12 months, and hopes have faded that Catherine Ashton will settle into her role as EU foreign policy chief.

The European Union’s diplomatic service was launched a year ago this week, in chaos and confusion. More than 1,500 officials were transferred en bloc from the European Commission, the secretariat of the Council of Ministers and from EU delegations abroad, but when they came back to their desks after the holidays many of them had no idea who their manager was or what they were supposed to be doing. Some of the early problems have since eased, but others have been left to fester. Demoralised staff have been forced to accept organisational chaos as a condition of life in the European External Action Service (EEAS). 

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