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

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of International Relations, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



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.

  • 2)

    Simon Duke, ‘Intelligence, Security and Information Flows in CFSP’, Intelligence and National Security, vol. 21, no. 4, 2006, pp. 604-630.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3)

    Thierry Balzacq, ‘The Policy Tools of Securitization: Information Exchange, EU Foreign and Interior Policies’, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2008, pp. 75-100; and Björn Müller-Wille, ‘The Effect of International Terrorism on EU Intelligence Cooperation’, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2008, pp. 49-73.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6)

    Federica Bicchi, ‘The EU as a Community of Practice: Foreign-policy Communications in the COREU/CORTESY Network’, Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 18, no. 8, 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8)

    Simon Nuttall, European Political Cooperation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 24.

  • 9)

    Ramses A. Wessels, The European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1999).

  • 13)

    Hylke Dijkstra, ‘The Council Secretariat’s Role in the Common Foreign and Security Policy’, European Foreign Affairs Review, vol. 13, no. 2, 2008, pp. 149-166; and Ana Juncos and Karolina Pomorska, ‘Secretariat: Facilitator or Policy Entrepreneur? Role Perceptions of Officials of the Council Secretariat’, in Sophie Vanhoonacker, Hylke Dijkstra and H. Maurer (eds), Understanding the Role of Bureaucracy in the European Security and Defence Policy, European Integration online Papers (EIoP), special issue 1, vol. 14, 2010, available online at (accessed 25 October 2011).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14)

    Nuttall, European Political Cooperation, p. 256.

  • 17)

    Simon Duke, ‘Preparing for European Diplomacy?’, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 40, no. 5, 2002, p. 855.

  • 18)

    Dijkstra and Vanhoonacker, ‘The Changing Politics of Information in European Foreign Policy’, p. 553.

  • 20)

    Interview with EU official, April 2011.

  • 21)

    See Michael Bruter, ‘Diplomacy without a State: The External Delegations of the European Commission’, Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 6, no. 2, 1999, pp. 183-205.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23)

    Ana Mar Fernández, ‘Local Consular Cooperation: Administrating EU Internal Security Abroad’, European Foreign Affairs Review, vol. 14, no. 4, 2009, p. 596.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25)

    Giorgio Porzio, ‘Consular Assistance and Protection: An EU Perspective’, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, vol. 3, no. 1, 2008, p. 96.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28)

    Andrew Retman, ‘Thousands of EU Citizens Making their Way Out of Libya’, EUObserver, 21 February 2011.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 236 119 12
Full Text Views 214 29 1
PDF Downloads 55 28 1