By Humphrey Carter
PALMA

SPAIN'S Defense Minister, Carme Chacon, will today be meeting the newly appointed European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Chief, Britain's Catherine Ashton, to begin preparing the top level defence summit Palma is going to be hosting later next month.

A number of conferences and summits are going to be held in Majorca during Spain's current Presidency of the European Union and today's talks will be the first official meeting between the two women.

Topping the agenda will be the European Union's security and defense policies as well as the two-day meeting of EU Defence Ministers which Palma is hosting on February 24 and 25 and should be attended by Britain's Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth and his team.

Ashton has not apparently hit the ground running in her new role in Brussels was mildly criticised by Spain this week during a debate of what new foreign affairs and security policies she intends to put forward.

Europe's new foreign affairs chief won tepid support Monday at a parliamentary confirmation hearing after failing to impress a number of deputies with what they called vague answers to policy questions. At a meeting of parties following a three-hour question-and-answer session, a majority of groups in the assembly parties gave Catherine Ashton a “favourable opinion”, one lawmaker said.

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