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Brussels diary: The EU’s homeless foreign ministry

Starved of offices, staff and funds, does the EU actually want the foreign ministry it has created?

By Manneken Pis   October 2010

It’s never easy to persuade governments to stump up millions of euros to hire yet more bureaucrats and kit out another building in Brussels. But this autumn must be one of the worst times in decades to try. After nine months in the job, Catherine Ashton, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, remains homeless, without a building for her new diplomatic service or many staff to put in it. But she is getting little sympathy from national capitals. That’s not surprising since, around the EU, national civil servants have seen their pay—or their jobs—cut in the new period of austerity.


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