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Cathy Ashton and her spokes-Mann: An International Women’s Day observation

Today, EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton has issued two statements, one on the conflict in Sudan and one on the International Women’s Day, the latter with a focus on the Middle East/North Africa.

The statements issued on Sudan is introduced with:

“The Spokesperson of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, made the following statement today:”

The statement on the International Women’s Day, start like this:

“Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:”

I’ve always felt that these statements issued by the spokesperson (chief spokesperson is a man called “Mann”!) instead of herself sound like she cannot (or may not) speak on her own on many issues, and on Women’s Day it feels even more awkward that the statement on Women’s Day can be made by herself and the statement on the escalation of violence in Sudan is done by somebody else (very likely the lower-ranking man called “Mann”) in her name.

Why is it that there are these different types of statements?

PS: I excuse for the terrible pun in the title, I suppose Michael Mann hears that a lot. The rest was meant to be a little more serious.



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