NICOSIA – Christos Stylianides, who received the Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management portfolio by new European Commission President-elect Jean Claude Juncker, will join six other commissioners to make up a new Commissioners’ Group on External Action. Federica Mogherini., the EU’s new foreign policy chief, will chair the group.
The group was created to bring about more coordinated EU action in external relations.
“The group will meet “at least once a month”. Apart from the humanitarian aid commissioner, the group will also include commissioners covering neighbourhood and enlargement negotiations, trade, development, climate action and energy, transport and migration, with the latter portfolio given to Greece’s Dimitris Avramopoulos,” the Cyprus Mail reported.
According to EUObserver.com, Mogherini, who is also a Commission Vice-President, and Juncker have decided to move the office of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy back to Commission headquarters in the Berlaymont building in Brussels. Mogherini’s predecessor Catherine Ashton had moved the office to another building in 2012 in a purported effort to reinforce the team spirit of the European External Action Service.
Juncker set out his plans for the new foreign policy cell of commissioners in a ‘mission letter’ sent to Stylianides and published on Wednesday.
According to Juncker, Mogherini will “steer and coordinate the work of all Commissioners with regard to external relations” to develop a joint approach.
“The Cypriot commissioner must also ensure the EU maintains its position as the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world, with particular focus on the most vulnerable and affected populations…Juncker told Stylianides to focus on maximising the impact of the EU’s humanitarian aid, build close working relations with key partners, and build up the EU’s capacity to coordinate emergency responses, according to the Cyprus Mail.