The European External Action Service

Heidi Maurer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The European External Action Service (EEAS) has been formally created with the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 and started operating in December 2010. This was another step in the reform process to further institutionalize European foreign policy cooperation in Brussels and to support member states in coordinating the EU’s international activity (Allen 2012). The underlying idea was to unite the various strands of European foreign policy expertise in Brussels from the European Commission (Commission) and the Council Secretariat into one service. It would serve as a quasi-foreign ministry for the European Union (EU), with the High Representative (HR/VP) as foreign minister at its helm. Originally an idea of the constitutional draft treaty, it survived the reform crisis that haunted the EU after 2007, when French and Dutch voters rejected the constitutional draft treaty in referenda. The state-like jargon of foreign minister was dropped, but overall the idea of one service, led by the HR/VP survived and made its way into the Lisbon Treaty. Nevertheless, the timing of setting up a foreign service on the EU level was paired with economic and internal security issues redirecting political attention away leading to fading enthusiasm for strengthening the foreign policy identity of the EU. Additionally, various crises in the following decade shaped the evolution of the EEAS and its head, the HR of the Union for Foreign Affairs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of EU Crises
EditorsMarianne Riddervold, Jarle Trondal, Akasemi Newsome
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages372
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-51791-5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'The European External Action Service'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this