Ashton highlights External Action Service in Europe Day message

The Sophia Echo (Link) - Clive Leviev-Sawyer (May 9, 2010)

Europe Day has become the symbol of a new beginning, of a free and successful way of peaceful co-operation between sovereign nations, based on shared values and common interests such as peace, solidarity, democracy, welfare of people and the rule of law, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a message celebrating May 9.

�On the occasion of Europe Day 2010 I would like to underline that that Europe wants to work even more closely with its partners around the world,� Ashton said.

�Only together will we be able to create policies and initiatives to tackle the challenges the world is facing in the 21st century,� she said.

�We have to find effective answers to a wide range of risks and threats: the fragility of states, terrorism, organised crime as well as the wider issues that affect our citizens: energy, climate change and the competition for natural resources, pandemics, illegal migration and human trafficking, financial and economic issues, trade, health and demography.�

Europeans were united in the way they perceive foreign policy and the external action, according to Ashton.

There was consensus for more co-operation, coherence, visibility and joint action.

The European Union, she said, was reshaping its capacity to respond adequately to the new challenges.

At the heart of these changes, according to Ashton, was the European External Action Service (EEAS), one of the central innovations of the Lisbon Treaty that came into force on December 1 2009.

The EEAS would strengthen the impact of EU values and interests around the globe. It would enable the EU to have a more ambitious, effective, coherent and visible foreign policy, Ashton said.

�The EEAS will be our principal interface with international partners; i.e. Europe�s �eyes, ears and face� in our day-to-day dealings abroad,� she said.

The EEAS would promote comprehensive policies in a strategic manner.

�I am convinced that the EEAS will bring new level of comprehension and cooperation in our partnerships, to the benefit of all of us.�

The EEAS would be set up 60 years after the adoption of the Schuman declaration, very much in its spirit, she said.

In 1950, Schuman issued a declaration calling for co-operation between France, Germany and other countries in their iron and steel industries, accompanying this call with a longer-term vision for a European federation.