The EEAS is the European Union's foreign service. It supports the EU High Representative in conducting the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It has about 3400 staff in total and 141 delegations around the world working on behalf of the people of Europe and representing the EU as a whole. The EEAS is functionally autonomous from other EU bodies.
European External Action Service was established on 26 July 2010 by decision of the Council of Ministers – based on a proposal from the High Representative endorsed by the European Parliament on 8 July 2010. It was officially launched in January 2011.
The Council will discuss on Tuesday 17 December 2013 and is expected to adopt conclusions on the review of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The debate will be held on the basis of the July 2013 report by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, on the organisation and the functioning of the EEAS.
The Council is expected to focus on the short-term recommendations that can be implemented within the existing legal framework and on the internal aspects of the organisation and functioning of the EEAS. Further examination on medium to longer term issues is foreseen during the mandate of the next High Representative. In this context, ministers are likely to focus their deliberations on the following;
• Inter-institutional cooperation - ensuring fully the coordinating role of the HR/VP in the field of external relations within the Commission, and further development of policy synergies and pragmatic working arrangements with other EU institutions;
• Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) - improving the effectiveness and efficiency of CSDP missions and operations, and strengthening integrated approaches and closer coordination within the EEAS;
• EU Special Representatives - enhancing the overall efficiency and accountability, and ensuring coordination and coherence with all other EU actors;
• EU delegations - enhancing cooperation between EU delegations and member states diplomatic representations;
• Consular protection- strengthened role of EU delegations in facilitating cooperation between member states
• Staffing - ensure a balanced presence of different sources of staff at all levels, as well as adequate geographical and gender balance.
Statement by EU High Representative Ashton on the EEAS review:
Council conclusions on the EEAS Review: