Will New Diplomatic Service Help EU To Speak With One Voice?

Ahto Lobjakas, Radio Free Europe, 24.07.2010

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The European Union is just months away from launching a new unified diplomatic service. But any hopes that the new structure will bring greater focus and effectiveness to the bloc's foreign policy are probably premature, analysts say.

The European External Action Service (EEAS), whose creation was a key provision of last year's Lisbon Treaty, is expected to be fully operational on January 1. It eventually will be staffed with thousands of diplomats in Brussels and in EU missions around the world. [...]

The creation of the EEAS, analysts say, will do little to change the EU's established foreign policy procedures.

Janis A. Emmanouilidis, a senior policy analyst with the European Policy Centre in Brussels, notes that the member states will not be giving away any of their exclusive sovereignty over foreign policy decisions. "Elements which in the past were largely conducted by the European Commission will be brought closer to elements which in the past were conducted by the member states," Emmanouilidis says. "So things are going to be brought closer together, but this does not mean things are going to be communitarized," or moved from member state to EU competence.

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