Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will at last have the right to speak at the United Nations General Assembly, following a vote held yesterday (3 May).
A vote in the 192-nation General Assembly saw 180 countries come out in favour of granting the EU 'super observer' status, which does not give the bloc voting rights but will allow the High Representative to speak on behalf of the European Union.
With this resolution, the General Assembly acknowledges that since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, the European Commission and the EU Delegations have represented the Union externally in accordance with the Treaties, Van Rompuy stated.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pressed EU leaders to accept the treaty change as she fears Germany's powerful constitutional court may raise objections to the €440 billion temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), agreed in May and set to provide aid to Ireland.
While EU policymakers insist the temporary facility and earlier aid to Greece do not contravene the EU treaty's 'no bail-out clause', Berlin is keen to remove any legal uncertainty, with a number of legal challenges currently under examination by the German court.