The European Parliament is planning a bigger footprint around the world.
Senior members of the assembly agreed at a closed-door meeting this week to approve plans to send permanent staff to Indonesia, Ethiopia and New York.
The Parliament staffers will work at the EU delegation in Jakarta, the headquarters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (also in Jakarta), the headquarters of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, as well as the EU delegation to the United Nations in New York.
The Parliament also discussed sending staff to Brazil and India, and recently appointed an official to head the Parliament’s office in London ahead of its scheduled departure from the EU on March 29.
The move “would entail limited additional costs,” the note said, and the “number of permanent staff would vary from 2 to 4.”
The decision to send staff beyond EU borders is part of a plan by Klaus Welle, the assembly’s secretary-general, to “strengthen Parliament’s activity and diplomatic presence in the world”.
The European Union is already represented in some 140 delegations and offices around the world, thanks to the European External Action Service.
Staffers from the Parliament have “broad knowledge of parliamentary procedures and parliamentary diplomacy,” the note said, and could “complement the activities of the Commission and the EEAS in engaging the parliamentary dimension of regional bodies.”
“The composition of the EEAS reflects staff expertise exclusively coming from the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and Member States’ diplomatic services,” according to the note.
The Parliament has prioritized Indonesia, Ethiopia and New York because they are the seats of “multilateral parliamentary assemblies and international organisations.”
But “enlarging the initiative to other continental democracies, such as for example Brazil and India, could be considered at a later stage.”