EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about the speaking rights of Catherine Ashton at the UN was published by EurActiv on 26th August 2010.

European Council and Commission representatives yesterday (24 August) confirmed reports that the United Nations is to grant the EU the right to speak in the body’s General Assembly ahead of its 64th session, which starts on 15 September in New York.

Although the EU is the biggest donor in flood-devastated Pakistan (EurActiv 19/08/10), High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton was recently prevented from taking the floor at a special UN meeting on aid to the country. The Union’s message was delivered by Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanacker, as Belgium is the current holder of the Union’s rotating presidency.

“It’s a protocol issue. It hasn’t been sorted out yet, we don’t know exactly what we are going to receive and we don’t know when we are going to receive it. We hope it is going to be in the next few days,” a source in the European Council, presided over by Herman Van Rompuy, told EurActiv.

The issue of the Union’s speaking rights was raised by Catherine Ashton in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and she is still waiting for a response, but no more can be said at this stage, the source said.

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