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Spanish EU Presidency - The EU's institutions seal an agreement regarding the European diplomatic service

This Monday in Madrid, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Spanish Presidency-in-turn sealed an agreement regarding the organisation and operation of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

The deal was reached after a meeting lasting more than three hours between the different parties involved in the future European diplomatic service at the Palacio de Viana in Madrid.

Taking part in the meeting were the head of European diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, on behalf of the rotating Presidency, the European Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, Maros Sefcovic, and three members of the European Parliament.

‘We are very satisfied with this agreement, as it removes all obstacles’, said the Spanish Secretary of State for the EU, López Garrido.

The agreement signed on Monday will be analysed separately in the coming days by each of the parties thereto, so that Council will be able to approve the formal decision to implement the service, anticipated for this autumn, as soon as possible.

Those present undertook to secure the support of their respective institutions with the aim of formally adopting as soon as possible the council's decision which will establish the organisation and operation of the European External Action Service.

Those present also agreed that they will now have to work constructively to deal with unresolved issues, in particular the financial regulation and regulation regarding personnel and other parties serving the EU's institutions.

The EEAS was approved by the EU-27 at the end of April, but it still needs the approval of the European Parliament, which wants to have more say in the structure of the future EU diplomatic service, one of the principal new features of the Treaty of Lisbon.

The future diplomatic representation of the EU, which will be led by Ashton, will have a staff of several thousands made up, in equal parts, of people from the European Commission, the European Council and the twenty-seven member states.

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