Thursday

19th Apr 2018

EU states near agreement on diplomatic service

  • The paper envisages a final proposal on the shape of the diplomatic corps by April 2010 (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The EU's new foreign minister will have sweeping powers to conduct foreign policy, propose his own budget and name his own staff independently of other EU institutions, according to the latest EU presidency blueprint.

The 10-page Swedish report - obtained by EUobserver - was submitted to EU ambassadors on Thursday (22 October) and represents a synthesis of Stockholm's consultations with the other 26 EU capitals in recent weeks.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The post of EU foreign minister or "high representative" for foreign affairs and a new EU diplomatic corps or "European External Action Service" (EEAS) are to be created following the entry into life of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

The Swedish paper envisages a minister in charge of a unique, "sui generis" institution with its own section in the EU budget alongside the European Commission, the EU parliament and the Council, the Brussels-based secretariat which prepares regular meetings of EU ministers.

The foreign minister is to propose how much money he needs each year, authorise spending, appoint his own staff and take charge of the European Commission's existing delegations across the world.

The new institution is to manage general foreign relations as well as EU security and defence projects, such as the police missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia and Afghanistan or any future peacekeeping operations in, for example, Africa. It is also set to take charge of the Situation Centre, the EU member states' intelligence-sharing hub in Brussels.

The EU diplomatic corps will not be responsible for trade, development or enlargement policy, which are to stay European Commission domains. But it is to have internal cells dealing with developing countries and enlargement candidates which will "play a leading role in the strategic decision-making" on commission programmes such as the European Development Fund.

No free rein

The new foreign policy body will not act entirely on its own accord, however.

The foreign minister is to "prepare" foreign policy initiatives, but "decisions" are to be made by EU member states at intergovernmental level, while the commission is to play an extensive role in the "technical implementation" of projects.

Member states' own embassies will continue to provide diplomatic and consular protection for EU citizens abroad.

Any initiatives which intrude on the commission's trade, enlargement or development work are to be prepared "jointly" by the foreign minister and the commissioner in charge of the portfolio and adopted by the college of commissioners.

The European Parliament is also to play a modest role.

"The High Representative should regularly consult the European Parliament on the main aspects and the basic choices of the CSFP/CSDP [EU foreign and security policy]. Close contacts with the European Parliament will take place at working level," the Swedish text says.

Balancing act

In terms of staffing, the diplomatic corps is to suck in people from the commission's foreign affairs department, relevant experts from the Council and diplomats from member states' foreign ministries. One third of senior or "AD level" staff is to come from member states.

People are to be hired keeping in mind the need to maintain "geographic balance" across the EU and "gender balance." Staff will be rotated into the EEAS and then back out into their old jobs, with diplomats from EU states temporarily becoming EU officials on equal pay and perks to colleagues from Brussels.

The Swedish paper shows the parameters of what member states are willing to accept. But the new foreign minister is to make his final proposal on the shape of the EEAS by April 2010. The new institution should reach "full cruising speed" by 2012 and undergo a thorough review in 2014.

EU toes the line on Syria air strikes

EU foreign ministers to back Western air strikes on Syria, the same way they backed the UK over Russia's chemical attack on an ex-spy in Britain.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

Western Balkans summit imperilled over Kosovo

While Bulgaria aims to have all 28 EU countries in Sofia in May to give a boost to EU accession of the Western Balkans, some EU countries want to make sure their reservations about Kosovo are noted.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  2. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  3. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  4. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  5. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  6. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit
  7. Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans
  8. Turkey snap elections set for 24 June

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  2. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  3. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  4. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  5. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  7. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  8. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  9. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  12. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies

Latest News

  1. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  2. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  3. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  4. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission
  5. Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties
  6. 'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole
  7. EU investment bank confirms secrecy of VW fraud report
  8. More commitment to renewables from Council, please

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  2. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?