The European External Action Service should pay more attention to development issues and include sufficient development expertise if it is to realize its ambition of providing a modern, comprehensive approach to the European Union’s external relations, the head of Oxfam International’s European office said.
In a letter to the European Voice, Elise Ford suggests two ways on how EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and other officials involved in the external service can better integrate development into the EEAS:
- Appoint at least one official with a strong development background to a high-level position within the service. The official can act as liaison with development experts within the European Commission.- Include a specific development policy section in the EEAS’ proposed thematic directorate. Aside from development, the section can also handle issues such as terrorism, human rights and gender.
Ford also urges the European Union to improve the newly formed EuropeAid Development and Cooperation Directorate-Generate by ensuring that it is properly structured and adequately staffed to fulfill its mission.
“Commentators have suggested that no other development agency in the world with policy ambition has a policy department as small as six people,” Ford explains. “The merger of two services allows the Commission and its development commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, to re-think this approach.”