What’s in a Name? Challenges to the Creation of EU Delegations

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 Institute for International and European Policy, Leuven University, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

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Summary

One of the Lisbon Treaty’s most significant innovations was the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), which changed the EU’s functioning not only in Brussels, but also around the world. Zooming in on the multilateral context of the UN in New York, this article examines the new EU delegations and highlights the main challenges that are inherent in their establishment. These delegations could be engrafted upon a wide network of European Commission delegations, yet the literature gives little indication of success in integrating the functions and actors. Adding to the literature and building upon interviews with policy officials in both Brussels and New York, this article indicates an additional external challenge in implementing Lisbon’s provisions, with the context of the UN General Assembly raising more fundamental questions on status and membership — questions that have also shaped the role of the EU delegation to the UN during its first year of operation.

  • 5)

    David Spence, ‘The European Commission’s External Service’, Public Policy and Administration, vol. 19, no. 3, 2004, pp. 61-76. Referring to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Spence writes that the network has ‘grown like Topsy’: neither strategy nor declared intentions played a role.

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  • 8)

    European Commission, Taking Europe to the World: Fifty Years of the European Commission’s External Service (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2004), pp. 24-25.

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  • 12)

    European Commission, Taking Europe to the World, p. 9.

  • 14)

    David Spence, ‘The European Commission’s External Service’, p. 61.

  • 15)

    Spence, ‘The European Commission’s External Service’, p. 75. Spence notes that the delegations supported Javier Solana and various special representatives in their work (p. 69).

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  • 24)

    Michael Bruter, ‘Diplomacy without a State: The External Delegations of the European Commission’, Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 6, no. 2, 1999, pp. 199-201. Bruter developed a typology of Commission delegations, classifying their clients on two dimensions: institutional (distinguishing between non-institutional versus institutional demanders); and geographical (distinguishing between EU and local demanders). Bringing those two dimensions together and visualizing them by way of two intersecting axes, he defines the following four functions: managerial functions; diplomatic functions; home consumer functions; and local consumer functions. Bruter’s sample included 125 representations.

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  • 25)

    David Rijks and Richard Whitman, ‘European Diplomatic Representation in Third Countries: Trends and Options’, ECP Working Paper, no. 28, 2007, pp. 36-41. Rijks and Whitman mention, for instance, the joint embassy of the Nordic countries in Berlin.

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  • 27)

    Rijks, ‘EU Diplomatic Representation in Third Countries’, p. 15.

  • 33)

    Maximilian B. Rasch, The European Union at the United Nations: The Functioning and Coherence of EU External Representation in a State-centric Environment (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008), pp. 95-116.

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  • 34)

    Anne Degrand-Guillaud, ‘Characteristics of and Recommendations for EU Coordination at the UN’, European Foreign Affairs Review, vol. 14, no. 4, 2009, pp. 607-622.

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  • 36)

    Katie Verlin Laatikainen, ‘Multilateral Leadership at the UN after the Lisbon Treaty’, European Foreign Affairs Review, vol. 15, no. 4, 2010, pp. 481-482.

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