May 27, 2008
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, during yesterday’s EPC annual conference, questioned the future role of foreign ministers. The post of 8 February raised this issue. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU foreign policy chief will chair the Foreign Affairs Council, dealing exclusively with non-EU countries. Currently the General Affairs Council (GAC) is composed of foreign ministers and chaired by the Presidency’s foreign minister.
This makes no sense. The General Affairs Council, shorn of its foreign policy role, will address general policy issues, which are not directly within the competence of foreign ministers. It would make more sense for the GAC to be composed of national ministers with overrall responsibility for EU affairs.
It follows that the Presidency foreign minister would not be the appropriate chair. It should be the ‘Europe Minister’, or even more sensibly, the President of the European Council.Author : Stanley Crossick