Detail Briefing Paper

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Synthesising European external functions: reflections on a multilayer merger and its likely impact on European Development Policy

Simon Hartmann

Wien, Juni 2010

With the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by all Member States, substantial changes have entered into force for the European Union as a global actor. The Treaty foresaw a new European Council President and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR) to preside over European external relations. Catherine Ashton was appointed to the HR post in 2009.

According to the Lisbon Treaty the position of HR is determined as double-hatted. First, she acts on the intergovernmental area of the EU by conducting the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) while her second role as Vice-President of the European Commission also anchors her at the Community level. In order to support her in fulfilling her mandate, the European External Action Service (EEAS) is currently being established. This service will assist her and, moreover, take on duties in support of the Commission and its President (by cooperating with general and internal services of the Commission) and the President of the European Council (by cooperating with the General Secretariat of the Council); it will appropriately support the European Parliament and "other institutions and bodies of the Union"; and it will cooperate with the diplomatic services of Member States. Interweaving the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) with substantial parts of three Community policies which have a distinct bearing on foreign relations (Enlargement and Neighbourhood, Humanitarian Affairs, and Development) will enable the new body to achieve greater consistency in external relations. While authority over these policies remains within the Commission, significant issues of planning and strategy will now be handled outside the Community policy level. External relations policy was formerly managed by the Directorate General for External Relations (DG RELEX); this Community structure is being dissolved and - together with the CFSP - merged into the new body and the position of HR.

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