Catherine Ashton brings experience of Health to High Representative Role

20 November 2009

The current EU Trade Commissioner is to become the first EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Her selection was supported by the UK and a number of other left of centre governments, perhaps balancing right of centre support for Herman van Rompuy as President of the European Council.

Baroness Ashton is hardly a well known figure even in her own country and lacks experience in foreign policy. She does bring experience as the Chair of a UK Health Authority and a number of junior minister posts in UK government, and was leader of the UK House of Lords before replacing the more experienced Peter Mandelson as Trade Commissioner. After taking a degree in Sociology she worked at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a number of public sector bodies. She is a strong supporter of gender equity and democratic engagement within the EU, though she herself has never been elected to government in the UK and her selection by the EU Council remains something of a mystery.


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