News BlogEEAS High Representative

The decision to transfer agents to the diplomatic service is approved

1643 agents (civil servants), to be precise, will be transferred on January 1 to the new diplomatic service of the European Union (EEAS). This is the logical consequence of the decisions adopted last July (establishment of the service) as well as in November (on the financial regulation and status). This decision, which may seem very formal, was eagerly awaited. Without this, the European External Action Service is an empty shell. It has just been taken by the three institutions concerned: the Commission, the Council and the Service itself.

Staff mainly come from DG Relex, DG Development, as well as the Council's DG External and Political-Military Affairs (DG E).

Table of job transfers (by origin) *

DG RELEX (Commission) DG DEV (Commission) External delegations (Commission) DG E (Council) New positions 2010/2011 Total
585 93 436 411 118 1643
* It is necessary to add the non-permanent staff of the Commission and the Council who will also be transferred

No Deus ex machina…

Almost a year after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, an important part of the new Treaty comes into force. However, don't expect “Deus ex machina”. Everything is not going to change overnight. The European Union is not going to become the United States (nor Russia or China) tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. And that is not the objective of this reform. The foreign policy concocted in Europe remains as much the fruit of the work of the 27 capitals (and ministries of foreign affairs) as of common bodies. This is therefore just one more step towards a little more coherence, visibility and tone in European foreign policy.

But a transformation

It is above all a transformation, a transmutation of sorts, the beginning of a new, more fusional process. The steps are somewhat similar (relatively speaking) to the steps known in legislative matters. We experienced the first stage: that of political cooperation (until the Treaty of Amsterdam). Then the second, that of synchronization, with the first joint decisions, the first defense missions (during the Solana period, 1999-2009). And today begins a new stage that we hope can be called co-decision. This 28th diplomatic service will undoubtedly grow and gradually establish itself as a reference.

An injection of talents and skills from Member States

In the end, let's leave the last word to the boss of the service, Cathy Ashton (in English): “The service will mark a new beginning for European foreign and security policy as we bring together and streamline all of the Union's existing resources, staff and instruments. We will also receive a fresh injection of talent and skills as we incorporate Member States' diplomats into our team. This combination of staff and resources will be more than the sum of its parts: we will be able to find synergies and develop new ideas, which will enhance our ability to act more creatively and decisively in an increasingly challenging world.” Shut up… and happy Christmas.

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).