EU caught in ‘a mess’ of foreign policy initiatives, Lithuania says

Brussels – Lithuania’s top diplomat urged European Union foreign ministers Monday to stop forming small coalitions that exclude other members of the bloc.

Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis said this had happened recently on issues such as nuclear disarmament and the set-up of the External Action Service (EAS), the new EU-wide diplomatic corps.

“It’s a mess. What bothers me more is the new tendency of my colleagues to launch appeals or statements without any consultation,” Azubalis said ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts.

“We should all discuss around the table … otherwise our meetings become useless,” the minister warned, admitting that even he took part in the practice he was criticizing.

In early March, Azubalis and his colleagues from Slovenia, Latvia and Cyprus sent a letter to the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, urging her not to let top jobs within the EAS be gobbled up by the EU’s big players such as Germany, France and Britain.

EU foreign ministers are currently discussing ways to make the bloc’s foreign policy more coherent. Azubalis said the creation of the EAS offers “a small, but very important” opportunity to pursue this goal.

The EAS is meant to be approved by the end of April, but turf wars between EU member states and the European Commission, the EU’s executive, are threatening to delay the process.

But Azubalis said it was more important to concentrate on substance, even if it meant missing deadlines.

“Let’s do the job in the proper way, not just by April or June. What about August or September? Because when you are in a hurry someone could take a wrong decision,” he warned.