Blog AnalysisEEAS High Representative

The first budget of the diplomatic service = 8 hours of the French budget, 3 Rafale!

(BRUSSELS2) Less than half a billion euros, this is what the future diplomatic service of the EU weighs. This seems significant in raw numbers. Compared to the entire budget or GDP of Europe, this is... small, very small.

3 or 4 Rafale or 3 Eurofighter

The first budget of the EEAS, presented to the European Parliament, amounts, in fact, to very exactly 475,8 million euros, distributed approximately 1/3 for the headquarters and 2/3 for the delegations (respectively 185 and 291 millions of euros).

The operation of the diplomatic service (salaries, charges, buildings) thus represents 0,2% of the European budget (143 billion) or 8 hours of the French state budget. This is not even the cost of the tax shield in France. This is the unit price of 3 or 4 Rafale or 3 Eurofighter (purchase price + development cost (1)…

We cannot really say that the European diplomatic “machine” is expensive! And when we talk about Europe's low weight in the world, this is, perhaps, also an explanation (to compare: the operating budget of the American State Department for 2011 amounts to $12,3 billion, i.e. approximately 9 billion euros).

Staff: less than half of the budget

Staff remuneration represents half of the budget: 212 million euros. The 2010 budget had already been modified, to the tune of 9,5 million euros, to cover the first wave of recruitment: hiring of 100 diplomats (20 at headquarters, 80 in the delegations) as well as 70 support staff ( 10 contract workers in Brussels and 60 local agents in the delegations). The 2011 budget also contains the creation of 18 new posts at headquarters (2 million euros in 2011) as well as the increase in security costs (3,275 million euros).

The rest of the expenses and revenues mainly come from transfers from the budget of the European Commission and the Council of the EU which transfer personnel, equipment and buildings, and financial allocation allowing the diplomatic service to operate (see tables).

Staff transfers (chart)

Commission EU Council New positions 2010 New positions 1/2011 Total
Seat 675 386 20 18 1 099
Delegations 439 25 80 544
Total 1 114 411 100 18 1 643

Source: European Commission

Transfer of buildings

The buildings inherited by the diplomatic service are, on the Commission side: the Charlemagne, 56 Rue de la Loi 56', '15 Rue de la Science' - as well as the European Commission delegation buildings around the world; and on the Council side, the 'rue Froissart' (which houses the special representatives), the 'Kortenbergh' (which houses the military headquarters), 'Ecole Royale Militaire' (which houses the EU military committee), as well as the “UN liaison offices” in New York and Geneva. No budget is planned for new premises at the headquarters other than a small amount of 500.000 euros to cover new recruitments.

Administrative budget = 193 million euros (chart)

Commission Council New New 2011 TOTAL
Other personnel expenses (training, medical, missions, etc.) 29,6 5,0 1,3 0,3 36,2
Buildings, IT and others 118,9 26,6 8,1 3,7 157,3
Including: – Buildings 91,2 12,1 6,0 3,4 112,7
Of which -IT and others 27,7 14,5 2,1 0,3 44,6
TOTAL 148,5 31,6 9,4 4,0 193,5

Source: European Commission

(1) According to the Court of Auditors, the unit price of the Rafale, as it appears in the 2010 Court of Auditors report, is 140 million euros. That is to say a price slightly higher than that displayed by the export manufacturer.

Download the summary budget table

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “The first budget of the diplomatic service = 8 hours of the French budget, 3 Rafale!"

  • John Mownay

    We get what we deserve. If the EEAS has opted for a pure and simple renewal of RELEX and the Commission delegations, as the first rotation of EU “ambassadors” seems to indicate, their additional funding needs should be extremely limits. low ambitions, low means...

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