Council establishes the European External Action Service

The Council adopted on 26 July the decision establishing the European External Action Service (EEAS) and setting out its organisation and functioning. The Council therefore sets up EEAS as a functionally autonomous body of the Union under the authority of the High Representative as provided by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) is one of the most significant changes introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009. It is aimed at making the EU's external action more coherent and efficient, thereby increasing the EU's influence in the world. After Member states reached a political agreement on EU External Action Service in Madrid, the European Parliament gave the go-ahead to EEAS agreement.

The EEAS will support the High Representative, who is also a Vice-President of the Commission and the President of the Foreign Affairs Council, in fulfilling his mandate to conduct the Common Foreign and Security Policy ("CFSP") of the Union and to ensure the consistency of the Union's external action. It will work in cooperation with the diplomatic services of the member states and comprise officials from relevant departments of the General Secretariat of the Council and of the Commission, as well as staff seconded from the national diplomatic services of the member states.

On the occasion of the adoption by the Council High Representative Catherine Ashton highlighted the fact that this proposal was tabled only four months prior to it, also underlining the importance of moving rapidly forward with the amendments to the EU Staff and Financial Regulations due to EEAS adoption, and an amending budget for 2010 to allow formally the Service to come into being by the first anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty.