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EU not authorized or ready to take on embassy work

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – Over time the European Union could be taking over the functions of Dutch embassies, although Foreign Affairs minister Maxime Verhagen discounts the possibility that this will happen before 2014. Now that the Lisbon Accord has taken effect, the EU has its own Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, although the structure for such a department has not yet been created. He also doubts that the EU can take on such tasks under the current mandate for this position. Dutch Labour is advocating that the EU take on a diplomatic role for member countries. Under the Dutch budget measures, Verhagen’s department will need to streamline itself further, shedding 391 jobs, many at posts abroad. Verhagen is also sympathetic to the laments of activists lobbying for imports free of child and slave labour. In recent weeks a controversial campaign was launched against producers who use cacao in such products as chocolate letters, demanding they be certifiably free of such unacceptable labour practices.