The European Parliament’s budgets committee agreed Oct.5 to withhold about euro20 million (USD27 million) allotted under the draft 2011 budget of the European Union for the creation of 118 posts in the bloc’s new diplomatic service.
The decision fuels an ongoing row between members of the European Parliament and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton over how much influence parliament should have over the European External Action Service, European Voice reports.
MEPs on the budgets committee are seeking assurances on EEAS’ recruitment policy and crisis management capabilities.
The withheld funds include euro18.6 million for the creation of 118 new posts, which will be released as soon as Ashton “explicitly commits herself to consulting Parliament on staffing priorities within the service,” according to the amendment adopted Oct. 5. The budgets committee also suggested freezing euro1.37 million, which is earmarked for 17 posts that are currently part of the European Commission.
The full parliament is expected to vote on the committee’s recommendations during its plenary in Strasbourg, slated for Oct. 18 to Oct. 21.
EEAS is scheduled to commence its operations in December.