Foreign Office leads EU coup

It’s taken as a given here in the UK that Brits wield little influence in Europe. But apparently – not. According to the Guardian, an FCO-led coup is under way:

Germany is planning to stop what it sees as a British campaign to dominate European foreign policy-making under Lady Catherine Ashton, the Guardian can disclose.

Amid growing criticism across the EU of the performance of Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the EU’s new high representative for foreign and security policy, Berlin and Paris are alarmed at the prominence of British officials in the new EU diplomatic service being formed under Ashton.

A confidential German foreign ministry document analysing the creation of the EU’s new diplomatic service, seen by the Guardian, has concluded that Britain has grabbed an “excessive” and “over-proportionate” role…

The French contend that the inexperienced Ashton is being schooled in policy-making by the Foreign Office. Diplomats and officials in Brussels also see Britain’s hand in one of Ashton’s first appointments, made last week. She named Vygaudas Ušackas, a former Lithuanian foreign minister and ambassador in London, as the EU’s special envoy to Afghanistan. He was widely seen as the UK’s favoured contender after Britain withdrew its own candidate because it secured the post of Nato envoy in Kabul.

The Germans are also increasingly unhappy at what they see as the erosion of their influence and being cut out of decision-taking.