The review of the European External Action Service: a commentary on the report

Working and discussion papers
September 2013
Raphaëlle Faure, Mikaela Gavas and Simon Maxwell

This note offers a brief comment on the development aspects of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Review, published in July 2013.

We argue  that the development recommendations are credible, but incomplete. In particular, proposals to strengthen the role of the High Representative/Vice President of the European Commission (HR/VP) and the EEAS are only desirable if should be accompanied by:

  • strong legislative protection of a poverty focus in aid, including in the Regulations currently under review;

  • enlarged membership of the Group of External Relations Commissioners (the RELEX Group), to include development-related portfolios, including agriculture and climate change;

  • a strengthened coordinating role for the Development Commissioner, under the authority of the HR/VP in her role as Vice President;

  • job descriptions for European Union (EU) Heads of Delegation which emphasise development competences; and

  • better organisation of parliamentary committees on external issues.