An alternative reading of EU foreign policy administration

Authored by: Thomas Henökl

The Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138589919
eBook ISBN: 9780429491306
Adobe ISBN:


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With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the EU foreign policy was comprehensively rearranged. The former High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Commissioner for External Relations are now combined in the position of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP) – a position from autumn 2019 held by former Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell Fontelles. According to the Articles 18 and 27 of the TFEU, the HRVP ‘conducts the Union's common foreign and security policy’; ‘contributes by her proposals to the development of that policy, […], and ensures implementation of the decisions adopted’; ‘presides over the Foreign Affairs Council of Ministers'; ‘is one of the Vice-Presidents of the Commission and thus ensures the consistency of the Union's external action’; […]. In the wake of this institutional rearrangement, by Council Decision (427/2010) the member states in cooperation with the EU Commission, created a dedicated administrative apparatus, the European External Action Service (EEAS) in order to assist the HRVP in achieving ‘[…] consistency and coordination of the Union's external action as well as by preparing policy proposals and implementing them after their approval by the Council’. The EEAS is a ‘functionally autonomous body’ placed ‘under the authority of the HR/VP’. The HR/VP heads the EEAS and assumes political responsibility for this bureaucratic apparatus. 1

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