Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, announced today (21 December) the appointment of two departmental heads for her new diplomatic service, the European External Action Service.
Hugues Mingarelli, currently a deputy director-general for external relations in the European Commission, is to be managing director for the Middle East and north Africa. Viorel Isticioaia Budura, Romania’s ambassador to China, is to be the EEAS’s managing director for Asia.
Their appointments mean that, less than three working days before the EEAS is to begin operations on 3 January, four of the six vacancies at the level of managing director – the level immediately below the executive board – have been filled. One post, the managing director for thematic issues, is being re-advertised. A further announcement, the appointment of Nicholas Westcott, Britain’s ambassador to Ghana, as managing director for Africa is expected in the coming days.
Ashton said: “Both Hugues and Viorel bring with them long experience of the countries and issues covered by their new portfolios. I look forward to working with them in the new service.”
Mingarelli is a 56-year-old French national who has spent most of the past two decades working for the European Commission. Isticioaia Budura is a 58-year-old Sinologist who entered Romania’s foreign service – then under the Communists – in 1978 and who held posts in Korea, Japan and the United Kingdom.