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Many foreign missions to the EU are so understaffed that they can do little more than maintain a formal presence, to keep up appearances in Brussels. Does this matter? The answer surely is YES. In an era transformed by globalisation and the communications revolution, a well-resourced  diplomatic effort is more crucial than ever. Having strong connections not only with the EU institutions but with business and civil society in EU member states is increasingly vital to national interests.

Unfortunately due to chronic understaffing, many foreign missions to the EU are short changed on many of prerequisites for their effectiveness. Many diplomats in Brussels are hampered by a growing deficit between what they are being called to do and the resources available to carry out that mission. This under-investment funding, staffing and training is undermining their countries' diplomatic efforts. In some cases, the Foreign Ministry back home is actually an obstacle to the Mission in Brussels by its failure to respond effectively, promptly and cooperatively when receiving communications from Brussels requesting action on a specific issue. More effective and efficient coordination between the Foreign Ministry and the missions abroad on various issues is paramount to sustain a country's foreign policy vision.

Many missions are so poorly funded that when they receive funding, it goes far beyond the need and the timing of the funding. As for many countries human and financial resources remain scarce, governments should be encouraged to think out of the box in making 'MAXIMUM COVERAGE WITH MINIMUM RESOURCES" by perhaps applying new methods such as outsourcing, hiring more professional local staff, hiring contract lobbyists. 

A strategic-based budgeting should be considered to ensure that the activities of each agency complement, not duplicate one another in moving forward the overall strategic framework. Foreign missions to the EU are the front liners of their country's public diplomacy and considering the benefits and opportunities the EU can provide, they deserve and rightly so need to be equipped with enough resources to get the job done.   

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