Decision establishing organization and functioning of EEAS published

The Official Journal of the European Union publishes in its issue of 3 August 2010, Council Decision of 26 July 2010, establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service, which sets up its functions and actions in matters such as external action instruments and programming or security issues. On the same date, OJEU also publishes the legal instrument for the adoption of such Decision.

As set up by the Decision itself, the purpose of this document is to establish the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service (EEAS), as a functionally autonomous body of the Union under the authority of the High Representative, set up by Article 27.3 of the Treaty on European Union  as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon. The creation of the EEAS, which was finally adopted by the Council at its meeting of 26 July, is probably the most important development carried out within the European Union after the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty.

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/her mandate to conduct the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the Union and to ensure the consistency of the Union’s external action.

The Decision establishes that the EEAS, whose headquarters are to be in Brussels, will be a functionally autonomous body of the European Union, separate from the General Secretariat of the Council and from the Commission with the legal capacity necessary to perform its tasks and attain its objectives.

European External Action Service Tasks

The EEAS will support the High Representative in fulfilling his/her mandates as outlined, notably, in Articles 18 and 27 TEU:

  • in fulfilling his/her mandate to conduct the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union, including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), to contribute by his/her proposals to the development of that policy, which he/she shall carry out as mandated by the Council and to ensure the consistency of the Union’s external action,
  • in his/her capacity as President of the Foreign Affairs Council, without prejudice to the normal tasks of the General Secretariat of the Council,
  • in his/her capacity as Vice-President of the Commission for fulfilling within the Commission the responsibilities incumbent on it in external relations, and in coordinating other aspects of the Union’s external action, without prejudice to the normal tasks of the services of the Commission.

The Service will also assist the President of the European Council, the President of the Commission, and the Commission in the exercise of their respective functions in the area of external relations.

External action instruments and programming

The management of the Union’s external cooperation programmes is under the responsibility of the Commission without prejudice to the respective roles of the Commission and of the EEAS in programming.

The High Representative will ensure overall political coordination of the Union’s external action, ensuring the unity, consistency and effectiveness of the Union’s external action, in particular through the following external assistance instruments:

In particular, the EEAS will  contribute to the programming and management cycle for those external action instruments. The Service will have particular responsibility for the preparation of the multi-annual programs by country to determine the overall financial provisions, country strategy papers and regional strategy papers, as well as national and regional indicative programming.

With regard to the European Development Fund and the Development Cooperation Instrument, any proposals, including those for changes in the basic regulations and the programming documents referred to will be prepared jointly by the relevant services in the EEAS and in the Commission under the responsibility of the Commissioner responsible for Development Policy and shall be submitted jointly with the High Representative for adoption by the Commission.

Pursuant to the decision, the High Representative must submit by the end of the year 2011 a report to the Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the functioning of the Services, and by mid-2013 SEAE an evaluation of its organization and operation.