The EU foreign policy architecture after the Lisbon Treaty : the role of the EEAS in empowering the EU as an international actor
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The Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) sought to meet the new global challenges by providing the European Union (EU) with the necessary institutional and political tools to strengthen its role in international relations. The European External Action Service (EEAS) has emerged as a potential driving force for the EU foreign policy. With its unique position within the EU institutional framework and comprising an amalgamation of three groups of officials, its mandate is to provide a more coherent and effective foreign policy. The suis generis Service is at the centre of the coordination role that runs along two dimensions: vertically, between the Service and the 28 Member States; and horizontally, between the Service and the EU institutions involved in the foreign policy-making of the EU (the Commission, the European Council, and the Council of the EU). This thesis is a qualitative research, approaching the analysis of the EEAS in applying the three following approaches: Europeanization (uploading, downloading, and socialization), capabilities-expectations gap, and the EU`s actorness. These three approaches have contributed to the examination of the EU`s capabilities in international relations. Supported by the “triple-hatted” High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) and the EU Delegations, the EEAS has been given the tools to bring together the actors that constitute EU`s foreign policy, and to strengthen the EU`s visibility and influence in the world. Special attention has also been giving to the building of a new esprit de corps as a key element in the construction of a coherent and effective European diplomatic service. Elements such as leadership, communication, trust, public image, training and career prospects have the potential to promote esprit de corps, thus turning the EEAS into a more effective organization. The empirical analysis shows that the institutional and political innovations brought by the ToL was intended to establish a coherent EU foreign policy but this remains a work in progress. However, these innovations have given the EU the opportunity to enhance its presence and influence in the world of politics.