|Mr. Stelios Christopoulos, Minister Counsellor and Chargé d’Affaires a.i.|
The European Union´s External Action Service, the vast worldwide diplomatic network, led by the British Labour Baroness Cathrine Ashton is growing fast these days:
The service, with 7,000 staff, was a product of the Lisbon Treaty, intended to massively strengthen the EU's international role. The EEAS controls a total budget of around €7 bn (£6.2 bn) including massive aid, peacekeeping and development budgets. It has aroused bitter opposition among British critics. Geoffrey Van Orden, a Conservative MEP, said: "The EEAS has huge appetite and ambition, and now it's turning into a hydra-headed monstrosity."
Lady Ashton, 55, a Labour peer appointed by Gordon Brown, is the world's highest paid female politician on a salary of £270,000. A former treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament who has never been elected to any public position, she had no foreign policy experience when she was appointed to her post promising to speak for 27 EU foreign ministers
Read the entire article here
In order to find out what the army of EU diplomats actually are doing, it is rewarding to visit some of the EU "embassies´" websites. This time we wanted to see, what the Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago recently has been busy with.
One of the main annual spring activities of the EU Delegations around the world seems to be organising the Europe Day - the EU´s own "national holiday" . This is the day when the local EU "ambassador" usually throws a big party and gives a speech paying homage to Robert Schuman and later "fathers" of the "ever closer integration" as well as extolling the marvellous things the EU is doing today. The acting head of the EU´s base in Port of Spain, Stelios Christopoulos, Minister Counsellor and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. is no exception. Here is an excerpt from his speech on May 9, 2011:
HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE and Mrs IVOR ARCHIE,
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE HONOURABLE Dr. SURUJ. RAMBACHAN,
MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY, THE HONOURABLE STEPHEN CADIZ and Mrs CADIZ,
MINISTER OF PLANNING, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESTRUCTURING AND GENDER AFFAIRS, THE HONOURABLE MARY KING and Mr KING,
MINISTER OF FOOD PRODUCTION, THE HONOURABLE VASANT BARATH and Mrs BARATH,
MINISTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, THE HONOURABLE RUDRAWATEE RAMGOOLAM,
MINISTER OF HOUSING AND ENVIRONMENT, THE HONOURABLE ROODAL MOONILAL,
MINISTER OF EDUCATION, THE HONOURABLE DR TIM GOPEESINGH,
YOUR EXCELLENCIES THE AMBASSADORS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE EU MEMBER STATES,
OTHER HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS AND MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC COPRPS,
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA,
DEAR COLLEAGUES AND DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,
Throughout the year and in view of the recent financial difficulties of the EU, some of our long time friends and partners have expressed their concerns about the ability of the EU to honour its commitments. But in the EU, we know from past experience that the road to growth and recovery requires more exposure to trade and more assistance to our developing partners, not less. Indeed, the EU remains the biggest donor of development assistance in the world providing more than 60% of the total.
Does Trinidad and Tobago have real access to the EU funds as promised? In March this year we were very pleased to hand over on behalf of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, a check of about TTD 217 M to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. This came as a reward of several months of hard work and successful collaboration between the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the EU.
This is our small contribution to the efforts of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to bridge the gap between wealth and development.
The EU looks forward to the continued and successful collaboration with the Government.
At this point, allow me to raise my glass to the honour of our host country and the people of Trinidad and Tobago!
Read the entire speech here
Well, here we have a Greek happily "rewarding" the Trinidad and Tobago government with "our small contribution" of € 23,5 million (courtesy of EU taxpayers) for its "several months of hard work and succesful collaboration" with the EU. The announcement comes at the end of the short speech, a great deal of which consists of reading the names of all local dignitaries present. One wonders, whether the thought crossed the mind of Mr. Christopoulos, that his soon to be bankrupt native country might have had better use for the money? Probably not. These overpaid eurocrats live in their own cosy little world (tax free, of course), well shielded from the realities of the outside world.
On the Delegation´s "welcome page" Mr. Christopoulos mentions that the "small but competent and committed staff" is assisting "the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in its efforts to further progress in two key areas: the diversification of the national economy and the promotion of good and effective governance in a number of fields".
It is impossible to find out, how small Mr. Christopoulos´ staff actually is, since the page labeled "Internal organisation" is empty. As to teaching the local government to make economic progress and "good and effective governance", it might perhaps be better for the EU to use Mr. Christopoulos´ expert knowledge back in his home country.
|More info about other great things the EU is doing in the Caribbean here|