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Wednesday, 08 September 2010

Old boys club dominates EU diplomacy

Belgian, Dutch, Italian, French and German men make up the lion's share of EU ambassadors abroad, a new study timed to coincide with a major recruitment round for the European External Action Service (EEAS), has said. The five founding members of the EU together have 66 heads of delegation out of the EU's 115 foreign missions which are run by an official with the top-level grade.
The UK and Spain, two large countries which joined the EU later down the line, hold another 20, the report, by the Polish Institute for Foreign Relations, has shown. In contrast, the 10 countries which joined after 2004 have just two. The current distribution of top-level foreign posts reflects old colonial ties. Portugal and Spain between them lead five EU embassies in Latin America. Former colonial powers have all but three out of the EU's national representations in Africa. The gross imbalance also goes against women. Just 11 out of the 115 ambassadors are women, accounting for less than 10 percent, even though women make up 52 percent of European Commission personnel overall and 37 percent of staff in the commission's foreign relations department.

Source: EU Observer