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…"