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Friday, 14 May 2010

Development NGOs issue legal warning over new EU foreign service

The European development NGO community has attacked the EU's already quite well advanced plans to subsume aid policy under the rubric of its new diplomatic corps, arguing that the new set-up will make development a mere pawn of foreign and security policy and that this is illegal under the Lisbon Treaty. A coalition of almost the entire community of development organisations have warned that legal action could be taken against foreign affairs chief Catherine Asthon's proposal for the External Action Service to prevent the EAS from taking over development policy. Concord, the umbrella group of all European development groups together with CIDSE, the alliance of European Catholic development charities, Aprodev, its Protestant counterpart, and Eurostep, the secular aid coalition, together sought legal advice from White & Case, a UK law firm, whose analysis came back saying: "The EAS may be in breach of objectives and competencies laid down in the Lisbon Treaty." "The role of the EAS under the EU treaties is restricted to the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), which represents only part of the EU's external action.

Source: EUobserver