|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.42, 15.11.01, p8|
THE European Commission has been accused of contradicting its own internal rules by appointing an official with no experience of handling foreign policy issues to oversee its relations with several states in the former Yugoslavia.
Green MEP Monica Frassoni has protested at how Reinhard Priebe was recently given the lucrative A-grade post as head of the Commission's directorate for the Western Balkans.
The Belgian deputy said her complaint was prompted by an interview with Priebe in a newsletter for EU officials "in which, with disarming sincerity, he admits to never having worked in the area of external relations before". In a parliamentary question, Frassoni also referred to a memo circulated within the Commission's directorate-general for external relations (DG Relex) earlier this year, stating that promotions must be based on merit, rather than nationality or political affiliation. "Does the Commission not consider that it is particularly inconvenient for its prestige and credibility to appoint by chance a person with no relevant background?" she asked.
External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten responded to her criticism by dismissing claims that Priebe, formerly an agriculture official, secured the job 'by chance'. "The candidate chosen, after a series of interviews, was considered to have the best range of experience and skills needed for this challenging position," he said. "Previous experience in an external relations directorate general was not a requirement for the post." However, Patten's reply follows his admission last month that most senior officials handling foreign policy issues had less than twelve months' experience in serving the Union outside its member states' borders.
That was despite the Commission deciding in 1997 that overseas experience was vital for fonctionnaires bearing such responsibilities. Priebe himself was unavailable for comment.
The European Commission has been accused of contradicting its own internal rules by appointing an official with no experience of handling foreign policy issues to oversee its relations with several states in the former Yugoslavia.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia|