The European External Action Service:A Pivotal Actor in EU Foreign Policy Communications?

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Federica Bicchi Department of International Relations, London School of Economics Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE United Kingdom

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This article analyses the role of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in EU foreign policy communications. Having cumulated a number of pre-existing functions, the EEAS is situated at the centre of the existing communication systems used in the European Union in relation to matters of foreign policy. Moreover, the EEAS is contributing to the expansion of the existing practice of foreign policy communications in three ways. First, it has affected the direction of communication flows in the most well-established (but now declining) communication system — the COREU/CORTESY network — as a growing proportion of messages now originate in Brussels. Second, the EEAS is developing an autonomous EU capacity for information gathering, as EU delegations regularly draft political reports. Third, the EEAS has contributed to the expansion of information sharing in consular affairs, which is an area of mixed and contested competences. The EEAS is thus a key actor in EU foreign policy communications, although practices are forever shifting and its role is still under construction.

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