Building a European external action service

Building a European external action service: A difficult birth?

Hugo Brady, Natividad Fernández Sola
05 March 2010

In foreign policy terms, the EU’s global partners often have to deal with the competing external relations bureaucracies of the European Commission, the EU’s Council Secretariat (itself acting separately for both the HR and the six-month EU Presidency) as well as the different diplomatic services of the member states. That situation reflects the uneven development of the Union’s foreign policy machinery since the development of ‘European political coordination’ in 1970 and the EU’s beginnings as a purely economic entity. Nevertheless the Union has managed – through the creation of a HR for Foreign Policy and almost 20 years of adopting common positions on all but the most controversial external issues – to create the expectation that it ‘should’ have a serious foreign policy that can mobilise diplomatic, military and civilian resources and deploy them worldwide.

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