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European Union (EU) introduces its own foreign office amid criticism.

EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton

Relations with the US and China, climate change, poverty eradication, crisis management and counter-terrorism are to be the top priorities of the EU’s new diplomatic corps, EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton told her stable of 136 ambassadors at a behind-closed-doors meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (1 December). SEE VIDEO HERE

The speech, given at a regular annual gathering of EU envoys in the European Commission headquarters, doubled up as a low-key launch ceremony for the European External Action Service (EEAS), which formally began life the same day.

A source familiar with the discussions at the event told EUobserver: READ MORE HERE