Ashdown in frame for Balkan role

Paddy Ashdown being considered for EU envoy role - reports
Paddy Ashdown being considered for EU envoy role - reports

By staff

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown is being considered as the European Union's Balkan envoy.

Newspaper reports claimed the EU's foreign and security policy chief Catherine Ashton was considering Lord Ashdon for a role which would cover Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo.

All of the EU's 27 member states would have to agree to the measure. The likeliest stumbling block could be concerns that Baroness Ashton is not looking beyond Britain to expand her diplomatic corps.

Lord Ashdown, who served as the UN's high representative to Bosnia from 2002 until 2006, has an impressive reputation as a strong-minded negotiator in the region.

His candidacy will be discussed when Baroness Ashton has dinner with William Hague on Thursday evening, according to reports.

The foreign secretary is likely to be supportive of Lord Ashdown's potential appointment: the pair have written a series of articles about the Balkans in recent months.

Lord Ashdown was briefly considered as an envoy to Afghanistan unifying the international effort, but his appointment fell through after a lack of support from Kabul

"Since I left the Balkans four years ago, there has been constant speculation about a Balkan envoy," he told the Guardian newspaper.

"Obviously I think it's a good idea."


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