Monday, April 13, 2009

EU trains a new diplomatic corps - without waiting for Lisbon Treaty

By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels   12 Apr 2009

The European Union was accused of "contempt for democracy" on Sunday after it emerged that hundreds of members of a new diplomatic service are being trained - even though the Lisbon Treaty that creates it has not come into effect.

Five hundred and thirty staff from the European Commission have already begun training to build a "shared diplomatic culture and an esprit de corps" for the EU's putative External Action Service (EEAS).

Irish voters blocked the Lisbon Treaty, which provides the legal basis for a new Euro-diplomatic corps, when they rejected the renamed EU Constitution in a referendum last June.

The disclosure that the Commission has simply pressed on regardless and begun training the euro-diplomats infuriated Irish politicians. Ireland is expected to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in October.

Declan Ganley, an Irish campaigner for a "No" vote, said: "It is cause for serious concern that, by implementing the Lisbon Treaty, EU institutions are manifesting outright contempt for democracy…"