Josep Borell condemns the slowness of his envoys in reporting on their activities

Josep Borell condemns the slowness of his envoys in reporting on their activities

Given the many crises the EU is facing, its delegations must be on 24/7 alert but are often “too slow” to report to Brussels, the Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday ( October 10th).

Addressing EU envoys gathered for their annual summit in Brussels, Mr Borrell was unusually blunt about the sometimes late reports from EU diplomatic missions around the world and the reactions to what is happening on the ground need to be adjusted.

«I want you to report quickly and in real time what is happening in your countries. i want to know from you Not from the pressMr Borrell said in unusually candid public comments.

«You have to be able to react 24 hours a day – as soon as something happens, inform – I don’t want to keep reading in the newspapers what happened somewhere without our delegation telling us something“, he said.

«Tell us what’s going on quickly, immediately, even if you don’t have all the information to begin with. Show that you are there‘ he urged his diplomats.

Drawing a comparison to the faster work of national foreign ministries, Mr Borrell told the envoys that he “should be the most knowledgeable person in the world as you all have a presence around the world».

Observers have long pointed to the problem stemming from the structure of the EU’s diplomatic service.

The European External Action Service (EEAS), created more than a decade ago as the Union’s foreign policy body and now headed by Mr Borrell, is the first non-state diplomatic service.

«Act like you are an embassy – please send a telegram or cable or courier quicklyadded Mr. Borrell.

«We have to be faster and take riskshe told the EU envoys.

Commenting on decisions made since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Borrell said the EU diplomatic service should “be ready to be bold».

«We’re breaking taboos about the war in Ukraine, using the European Peace Facility to buy weapons, which initially seemed impossible. “We’ve never done this before” is not an excuse. You may need to start doing things that you have never done in the past. If we hesitate, we will regret it.»

In what was seen as a veiled criticism of the way the European Commission worked, Borrell said the EU still tends to “work in a vacuum».

«Everyone [domaine] Politics still has its own logic and rhythm, be it climate, trade or something else“, he warned. “We need to be more proactive and more reactive; we have to make a connection between all these problems.»

The EU diplomat’s comments come at a time of growing criticism of the lack of communication between Brussels and its EU diplomatic missions around the world.

In recent months, several diplomats from EU delegations have told EURACTIV that they are also frustrated with the way the Brussels headquarters are handling their reports, often disregarding the country’s expertise.

«It has become a habit: when a regional office has been working on an EU strategy, it has not always fully considered the questions we askeda European diplomat told EURACTIV.

These internal tensions arise as the EU diplomatic service reassesses its reach on the world stage, particularly in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Borrell appeared to address this disparity, saying that alongside the bloc’s positive perception of its ability to set standards, what “the Brussels effectthere would also be increasing competition as to whether the rest of the world would accept the European path.

«I believe that the rest of the world is increasingly unwilling to follow our model of exploitation (…) for cultural, historical and economic reasons – it is no longer accepted‘ he explained.

«We underestimate the role of emotions and the enduring appeal of identity politicsadded Mr. Borrell.

«We need to listen more; We need to listen a lot more to the other side, to the rest of the world“, he added.


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