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Friday, 22 January 2010

Cooperation with EU parliament top priority for Ashton

The EU's incoming foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said she intends to work closely with MEPs to make Europe "a stronger, more credible" international force. During a three-hour parliamentary grilling on her suitability for the powerful post of EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Ashton highlighted the importance of cooperation between the EU institutions. The commission vice-president was appearing before MEPs in parliament in Brussels as the hearings of commissioners-designate kicked off on 11th January. It is the second time in little over a month Ashton has gone before MEPs as she sets out to prove she is cut out for her "double-hatted" foreign policy role. Setting out her stall in her opening speech, the baroness told deputies that the EU now has a "once in a generation opportunity" to create a coherent approach to EU foreign and security policy. But the former trade commissioner was keen to stress that the overlap of experience with the cluster of commissioners with whom she will be working closely - Štefan Füle (enlargement and European neighbourhood policy), Rumiana Jeleva (international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response), and Andris Piebalgs (development) - is an "asset" that will "enrich" her role.

Source: The Parliament