High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

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The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR) is the main co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

 (CFSP) within the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU). The position is currently held by Catherine Ashton The post has been likened to a foreign minister
Foreign minister
A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...

 for the EU.

The post was introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam as the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy; it was then occupied by Javier Solana
Javier Solana
Francisco Javier Solana de Madariaga, KOGF is a Spanish physicist and Socialist politician. After serving in the Spanish government under Felipe González and Secretary General of NATO , he was appointed the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary...

 for ten years until it was expanded by the Lisbon Treaty to sit in the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 and chair the council of EU foreign ministers
General Affairs and External Relations Council
The Foreign Affairs Council is a configuration of the Council of the European Union and meets once a month. Meetings bring together the Foreign Ministers of the Member States. Ministers responsible for European Affairs, Defence, Development or Trade also participate depending on the items on agenda...

. Following the Lisbon Treaty
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

 the post is assisted by the European External Action Service
European External Action Service
The European External Action Service is a European Union department that was established following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009...

 that was set up in December of 2010.

Titles


The High Representative is formally titled the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. However it was formerly titled the High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and was, under the European Constitution
Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , , was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union...

, to be titled the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs. This latter title, as EU Foreign Minister is still applied by commentators and sections of the media as a publicly-recognisable short hand for the post.

Role



Where foreign policy is agreed between EU member states
Member State of the European Union
A member state of the European Union is a state that is party to treaties of the European Union and has thereby undertaken the privileges and obligations that EU membership entails. Unlike membership of an international organisation, being an EU member state places a country under binding laws in...

, the High Representative can speak for the EU in that area, such as negotiating on behalf of the member states. The Representative co-ordinates the work of the European Union Special Representative
European Union Special Representative
The European Union Special Representatives are emissaries of the European Union with specific tasks abroad. While the EU's ambassadors are responsible for affairs with a single country, Special Representatives tackle specific issues, conflict areas or regions of countries...

 as well as other appointments such as anti-terrorist co-ordinator.

Beside representing the EU at international fora and co-ordinating the Common Foreign and Security Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

 and the Common Security and Defence Policy, the High Representative is:
  • ex-officio Vice President of the European Commission
  • participant in the meetings of the European Council
    European Council
    The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

  • responsible of the European Union Special Representatives
  • head of the External Action Service and the delegations
  • President
    President
    A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

     of the Foreign Affairs Council
  • Secretary-General
    Secretary-General
    -International intergovernmental organizations:-International nongovernmental organizations:-Sports governing bodies:...

     of the Western European Union
    Western European Union
    The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

  • President of the European Defence Agency
    European Defence Agency
    The European Defence Agency is an agency of the European Union based in Brussels. It is a Common Foreign and Security Policy body set up on 12 July 2004, reporting to the Council of the European Union. All EU member states, except Denmark which has an opt-out of the CFSP, take part in the agency...

  • Chairperson of the board of the European Union Institute for Security Studies
    European Union Institute for Security Studies
    The European Union Institute for Security Studies is a Paris-based EU agency of the Common Foreign and Security Policy . Its goals are to find a common security culture for the EU, to help develop and project the CFSP, and to enrich Europe’s strategic debate.The EUISS is an autonomous agency with...



According to proposals made in 2009 by the Swedish EU presidency, the High Representative will control the staffing and budget of the EEAS, and propose the size of budget to be allocated. The High Representative is responsible for appointing EEAS staff and for controlling general foreign policy (outside of trade, development and enlargement which has to be made together with the Commission) including security initiatives and intelligence sharing. However, although the High Representative may prepare initiatives, decisions will still have to be taken by the member states in Council. The High Representative would also have to report to Parliament.

While there has been some criticism of the vague division of powers between the EU's top players, Ukrainian
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 ambassador to the EU Andriy Veselovsky praised the framework and clarified it in his own terms: The President of the European Commission
President of the European Commission
The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission ― the executive branch of the :European Union ― the most powerful officeholder in the EU. The President is responsible for allocating portfolios to members of the Commission and can reshuffle or dismiss them if needed...

 speaks as the EU's "government" while the President of the European Council
President of the European Council
The President of the European Council is a principal representative of the European Union on the world stage, and the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council...

 is a "strategist". The High Representative specialises in "bilateral relations" while the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy deals in technical matters such as the free trade agreement with Ukraine. The President of the European Parliament
President of the European Parliament
The President of the European Parliament presides over the debates and activities of the European Parliament. He or she also represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally. The President's signature is required for enacting most EU laws and the EU budget.Presidents serve...

 meanwhile articulates the EU's values.

With the growth in role of the High Representative, and their exclusion from the European Council, the national foreign ministers are now uncertain of their role vs the High Representative. At an informal meeting in Finland it was mooted that they could serve as special envoys on the High Representative's behalf. This has been backed by Ashton who said that so long as the EU spoke with one voice, it didn't matter who was speaking.

Appointment


The High Representative is appointed by the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

 acting by qualified majority. However in order to take up their role in the Commission, in particular as a Vice President, the High Representative has to appear before Parliament for questioning and then be subject to Parliament's vote of approval on the proposed Commission.

The basic monthly salary of the High Representative is fixed at 130% (higher than a vice president but less than the Commission President) of the highest grade of the EU civil service
European Civil Service
The European Civil Service is the civil service serving the institutions of the European Union, of which the largest employer is the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union...

 (grade 16, step 3), which works out at €23,006.98. There are other allowances on top of that as all other conditions of employment for the High Representative are aligned to that of the Commission.

List of office holders

Representative State Party In office Notes Photo
Jürgen Trumpf
Jürgen Trumpf
Jürgen Trumpf was appointed Secretary-General for the Council of the European Union and held the office from September 1, 1994 to October 17, 1999....

 Germany Independent diplomat 1 May 1999 18 October 1999 Acting

Javier Solana
Javier Solana
Francisco Javier Solana de Madariaga, KOGF is a Spanish physicist and Socialist politician. After serving in the Spanish government under Felipe González and Secretary General of NATO , he was appointed the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary...

 Spain European: Socialists
Party of European Socialists
The Party of European Socialists is a European political party led by Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The PES comprises social-democratic national-level political parties primarily from Member state of the European Union, as well as other nations of the European continent. The...


National: PSOE
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is a social-democratic political party in Spain. Its political position is Centre-left. The PSOE is the former ruling party of Spain, until beaten in the elections of November 2011 and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in...

18 October 1999 1 December 2009 Also Council
Secretary-General
Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union
The Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union heads the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. The current Secretary General is Uwe Corsepius, who entered office on 26 June 2011....

Catherine Ashton  United Kingdom European: Socialists
Party of European Socialists
The Party of European Socialists is a European political party led by Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The PES comprises social-democratic national-level political parties primarily from Member state of the European Union, as well as other nations of the European continent. The...


National: Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

1 December 2009 incumbent
Expires in 2014
Post expanded
by Lisbon Treaty

History


The post was introduced under the Treaty of Amsterdam and was occupied by Javier Solana. Initially the post was much more limited in scope than the present one created in 2009 by the Lisbon Treaty. The current holder of the position is Catherine Ashton. The innovations under Lisbon were originally included in the European Constitution which was never ratified.

Solana



The Treaty of Amsterdam introduced the post of High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy to represent the EU on the world stage. It was decided that the Secretary-General of the Council
Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union
The Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union heads the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. The current Secretary General is Uwe Corsepius, who entered office on 26 June 2011....

 would be the High Representative. This meant that the Secretary-General at the time, Jürgen Trumpf
Jürgen Trumpf
Jürgen Trumpf was appointed Secretary-General for the Council of the European Union and held the office from September 1, 1994 to October 17, 1999....

 was the first High Representative, although he would only serve a few months.

The first permanent High Representative was Javier Solana
Javier Solana
Francisco Javier Solana de Madariaga, KOGF is a Spanish physicist and Socialist politician. After serving in the Spanish government under Felipe González and Secretary General of NATO , he was appointed the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary...

, former Secretary General of NATO
Secretary General of NATO
The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the chairman of the North Atlantic Council, the supreme decision-making organisation of the defence alliance. The Secretary-General also serves as the leader of the organisation's staff and as its chief spokesman...

. He was appointed on 4 July 1999 at the Cologne European Council as Council Secretary-General and High Representative. He took up the post on 18 October 1999, shortly after standing down from NATO. The post had a budget of €40 million, most of which goes to Balkan operations. During his tenure, the position was expanded rapidly, with several more functions combined into the function of High Representative. From 25 November 1999 he was also appointed Secretary-General of Western European Union
Western European Union
The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

 (WEU), overseeing the transfer of responsibilities from that organisation to the CFSP. In 2004 his 5 year mandate was renewed. He has also become president of the European Defence Agency
European Defence Agency
The European Defence Agency is an agency of the European Union based in Brussels. It is a Common Foreign and Security Policy body set up on 12 July 2004, reporting to the Council of the European Union. All EU member states, except Denmark which has an opt-out of the CFSP, take part in the agency...

.

The Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 administration claimed in May 2000 that Solana was the fulfilment of Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

's famous desire to have a phone number to talk to Europe. In December 2003 Solana released the European Security Strategy
European Security Strategy
The European Security Strategy is the document in which the European Union clarifies its security strategy which is aimed at achieving a secure Europe in a better world, identifying the threats facing the Union, defining its strategic objectives and setting out the political implications for Europe...

, which sets out the main priorities and identifies the main threats to the security of the EU, including terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

. On 25 March 2004 Solana appointed Gijs de Vries
Gijs de Vries
Gijs M. de Vries is a Dutch Democrats 66 politician. He was deputy Interior Minister between 1998 and 2002, and was the European Union's anti-terrorism co-ordinator from 25 March 2004 to March 2007...

 as the anti-terrorist co-ordinator for the CFSP, and outlined his duties as being to streamline, organise and co-ordinate the EU's fight against terrorism.

He has negotiated numerous Treaties of Association between the European Union and various Middle Eastern and Latin American countries, including Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 and Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

. Solana played a pivotal role in unifying the remainder of the former Yugoslavian federation. He proposed that Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 form a union with Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 instead of having full independence, stating that this was done to avoid a domino effect
Domino effect
The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes...

 from Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 and Vojvodina
Vojvodina
Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

 independence demands. Local media sarcastically named the new country "Solania".
On 21 January 2002 Solana said that the detainees at Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq...

 should be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. The EU has stated that it hopes to avoid another war like the Iraqi invasion
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 through this and future negotiations, and Solana has said the most difficult moments of his job were when the United Kingdom and France, the two permanent EU Security Council members, were in disagreement
Iraq disarmament crisis
The issue of Iraq's disarmament reached a crisis in 2002-2003, when U.S. President George W. Bush demanded a complete end to what he alleged was Iraqi production of weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq comply with UN Resolutions requiring UN weapons inspectors unfettered access to areas those...

. The so-called Vilnius letter
Vilnius letter
The Vilnius letter was a declaration of support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was published at the height of the Iraq disarmament crisis of early 2003.- Background :...

, a declaration of support by eastern European countries for the United States' aim of régime change in Iraq, and the letter of the eight
The letter of the eight
The letter of the eight was signed on 30 January 2003, by the prime ministers for five of then fifteen members of the European Union in addition to three high representatives for the Central European countries that were to enter the union in 2004...

, a similar letter from the UK, Italy, and six second-tier countries, are generally seen as a low-water mark of the CFSP. Solana operated as a quiet diplomat and found himself frequently pushed to the side in negotiations and sent on missions known to be impossible.

Solana has played an important role working toward a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

, and continues to be a primary architect of the "Road Map for Peace
Road map for peace
The roadmap for peace or "road map" for peace is a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by a "quartet" of international entities: the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The principles of the plan, originally drafted by U.S. Foreign Service...

," along with the UN, Russia, and the United States in the Quartet on the Middle East
Quartet on the Middle East
The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United Nations, the...

. On 22 July 2004 he met Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Sharon had originally refused to meet Solana, but eventually accepted that, whether he liked it or not, the EU was involved in the Road Map. He criticised Israel for obstructing the Palestinian presidential election
Palestinian presidential election, 2005
The 2005 Palestinian presidential election — the first to be held since 1996 — took place on January 9, 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Voters elected PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the new President of the Palestinian Authority to replace Yasser Arafat, who died on November 11,...

 of 9 January 2005, but then met Sharon again on 13 January.

In November 2004 he assisted the United Kingdom, France and Germany in negotiating a nuclear material enrichment freeze with Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In the same month he was involved in mediating between the two presidential candidates in the post-election developments
Post-election developments in Ukraine, 2004
Below is the timeline of events that followed the runoff presidential election held in Ukraine on 21 November 2004 that sparked off the "Orange Revolution".-21 November:...

 in Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, and on 21 January 2005 he invited Ukraine's new President
President of Ukraine
Prior to the formation of the modern Ukrainian presidency, the previous Ukrainian head of state office was officially established in exile by Andriy Livytskyi. At first the de facto leader of nation was the president of the Central Rada at early years of the Ukrainian People's Republic, while the...

 Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is a former President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution...

 to discuss future EU membership.

Lisbon Treaty


The European Constitution
Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , , was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union...

 proposed to merge the European Commissioner for External Relations with the High Representative to create a Union Minister for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Although the Constitution failed to be ratified, its replacement, the Treaty of Lisbon
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

, retained the change under a different name. The new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy would still merge the External Relations Commissioner with the High Representative and, like the Constitution, would have it backed up by an External Action Service. The new role also took over other foreign affairs roles, such as chairing the Foreign Affairs Council and representing the EU in international fora, roles which were previously exercised by the foreign minister of the country holding the presidency of the European Union (along with the foreign minister of the country previously holding the presidency and the one to take it next).

Despite the name change, many parts of the media still referred to it as a foreign minister and in negotiations it was decided that the High Representative would no long also be the Council's Secretary-General but would be a Vice-President of the European Commission
Vice-President of the European Commission
A Vice President of the European Commission is a post in the European Commission usually occupied by more than one member of the Commission. Since the 2009 Lisbon Treaty entered into force, one of these is ex-officio the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,...

, filling the now merged Commission post. The merger of the two posts has been seen as furthering the answer to Kissinger's question:

Ashton


Although Javier Solana was originally selected to be the first Foreign Minister the delays in introducing the post meant after 10 years of service he stood aside for a new candidate. After numerous candidates were put forward, EU leaders agreed on Catherine Ashton from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 as the first merged High Representative. Ashton was previously the European Commissioner for Trade
European Commissioner for Trade
The European Commissioner for Trade is the member of the European Commission responsible for the European Union's common commercial policy...

 and otherwise had no foreign affairs experience. Ashton unexpectedly came to the top of the shortlist when she was nominated unanimously by the centre-left leaders who claimed the post. Ashton was confirmed by the European Parliament before she took up the post. In the same European Council meeting, Pierre de Boissieu
Pierre de Boissieu
Pierre de Boissieu is a French diplomat and former French ambassador to the European Union . He was the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union from 1 December 2009 until 26 June 2011. In this post he was preceded by Javier Solana and was succeeded by Uwe Corsepius...

 was appointed Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union
Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union
The Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union heads the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. The current Secretary General is Uwe Corsepius, who entered office on 26 June 2011....

, showing that the High Representative and the Secretary-General will no longer be the same person.

In October 2010 most major appointments to the EEAS were made, including Pierre Vimont
Pierre Vimont
Pierre Vimont is the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service .-Biography:Vimont holds a licence in law. He is a graduate of the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris and the École nationale d'administration...

 (France) as Secretary General, Helga Schmid (Germany) and Maciej Popowski (Poland) as Deputy Secretary Generals and David O'Sullivan
David O'Sullivan (civil servant)
David O'Sullivan is the Chief Operating Officer of the European Union's diplomatic corps, the European External Action Service, since 2010. He was the Secretary-General of the European Commission between June 2000 and November 2005....

 (Ireland) as Chief Operating Officer. Slowly other staff and ambassadors were appointed in cycles. Ashton formally launched the EEAS on 1 December 2010 at a low key event where she outlined her key priorities as relations with the US and China, climate change, poverty eradication, crisis management and counter-terrorism.

Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake
2010 Haiti earthquake
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks...

 Ashton chaired a meeting of the foreign relations, development and environment DGs and experts from the Council and the Situation Centre (the EU intelligence-gathering agency). There they agreed on €3 million in aid, to look for further financial assistance, to send personnel to assess the situation and to co-ordinate pledges from member states. Ashton then chaired a meeting of member states' ambassadors and acted as a general co-ordinator; for example contacts from the UN went via Ashton. Although she refused to describe it as the first act of the external action service, Ashton did emphasise that it was the first time that such a co-ordination between all the various EU foreign policy actors had been accomplished before. Spain, which held the rotating Council presidency that would have taken charge before the Lisbon Treaty, took a back seat though assisted, for example by offering use of the Spanish base in Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

. However, the majority of aid relief was dealt with bilaterally between Haiti and individual member states and Ashton was criticised afterward for being one of the few foreign representatives not to travel to Haiti personally. Despite EU ministers then agreeing to deploy European gendarmes
European Gendarmerie Force
The European Gendarmerie Force was launched by an agreement in 2006 between five members of the European Union : France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Romania subsequently joined in 2009...

, criticism was levied at Ashton for failing to improve the EU's international profile during the crisis. Ashton replied stating that "There's been a recognition from the people of Haiti, the US, the UN and others of the extremely important role the EU has played. On the main issue, we should ask, have we tried to save lives, to support the people of Haiti? Yes we have."
Criticism continued to mount, including complaints that she skipped a defence meeting in order to attend the inauguration of Ukraine's Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Ukraine
The Prime Minister of Ukraine is Ukraine's head of government presiding over the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which is the highest body of the executive branch of the Ukrainian government....

 alleged bias towards British officials, lack of language skills and risking a UK-French feud over creating an EU military planning headquarters. She has been defended by some, including Commissioner Günther Oettinger
Günther Oettinger
Günther Hermann Oettinger is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union . He became European Commissioner for Energy in the European Commission on 10 February 2010 and is affiliated with the European People's Party...

, on the ground that she has had to take on a job that combines three previous jobs and is working on establishing the EEAS so she is unable to take on everything at once, nor please everyone. Despite early Spanish assistance during 2010, Ashton did find herself competing with the Spanish foreign minister on who was going to be speaking for the EU and the need to find consensus between the member states and institutions pushed back the expected operational date of the EEAS from spring 2010 to December 2010. In contrast to the Spanish position, in 2011 Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski said he would act as Ashton's "loyal deputy".

Secretary General Pierre Vimont joined those defending Ashton from criticism; praising her work in opening the EEAS office in Benghazi
Benghazi
Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 as making the EEAs very popular in Libya. He also supported her over Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and has asked her to stand for a second term. Polish Minister for Europe, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, also stated criticism against Ashton was "a lot of hot air" and that "she has an impossible job to do and she is doing it well. At the end of her time in office, people will be more positive about what she has done. She will leave a real legacy."

However, Former European Commission adviser Dr Fraser Cameron argued that "the criticism one hears of Ashton is pretty strong and it will be difficult to overcome the bad press she has. It represents a problem for the EEAS, when it comes to public diplomacy, and reflects the system we have for choosing leaders. Too often, the EEAS is waiting until the last member state signs up to the position; they could set out a view much earlier. When you look at places like Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 - Cathy has been five times, but people are still not quite sure what the EEAS does or who speaks for Europe. The glass is less than half full. I think the criticism of Ashton is down to style and morale in the EEAS is not as good as it should be."

Treaty basis


The Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

, provides in Article 15(2):

and in Article 18:

See also

  • Common Foreign and Security Policy
    Common Foreign and Security Policy
    The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

  • Common Security and Defence Policy
  • List of European Union ambassadors
  • Council of the European Union
    Council of the European Union
    The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

  • EU Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • European External Action Service
    European External Action Service
    The European External Action Service is a European Union department that was established following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009...

  • European Union Special Representative
    European Union Special Representative
    The European Union Special Representatives are emissaries of the European Union with specific tasks abroad. While the EU's ambassadors are responsible for affairs with a single country, Special Representatives tackle specific issues, conflict areas or regions of countries...

  • Foreign Affairs Council
  • Foreign relations of the European Union
    Foreign relations of the European Union
    Although there has been a large degree of integration between European Union member states, foreign relations is still a largely inter-governmental matter, with the 27 members controlling their own relations to a large degree. However with the Union holding more weight as a single bloc, there are...

  • Military of the European Union
    Military of the European Union
    The military of the European Union today comprises the several national armed forces of the Union's 27 member states, as the policy area of defence has remained primarily the domain of nation states...


External links