The European Union is an institutionthat has seen major developments since its conception. It has always been of interest to Member Statesto discuss policies that allow the Union to move forward in cohesion. This hasbeen done through treaties which have lined out the EU’s purposes, set out the guidelinesof the EU’s institutions and how outcomes are taken. Throughout the years,treaties have been amended to promote more efficiency and transparency seeingchanges such as The Treaty of Rome changing into The Maastricht Treaty, whichdeveloped even further to the Lisbon Treaty. 1 The Treaty of Amsterdam created therole of High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. Initially the role served as a more figurativepresence, with Javier Solana the Secretary General of the Council of theEuropean Union holding the post for ten years. His main duty involved portrayingthe European Union on the centre stage and preparing reports on how the EU shouldstand on diplomatic issues as stated by the Treaty, ” that the HighRepresentative for the common foreign and security policy, shall assist theCouncil in matters coming within the scope of the common foreign and securitypolicy, in particular through contributing to the formulation, preparation andimplementation of policy decisions, and, when appropriate and acting on behalfof the Council at the request of the Presidency, through conducting politicaldialogue with third parties.
“2 The Lisbon Treaty gave the role a muchneeded make over, increasing its importance and adding the role’s responsibilities.The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy(CFSP) was made second in command to the President of the Commission by beingmade Vice President increasing their value within the Commissioners. Theofficial was also made responsible in the Council for the EU’s common foreignand defence policies and for coordinating the Commission’s external actions inorder to ensure affinity and solidarity. It means that the Lisbon Treaty mergedthe duties previously done by the Commissioner for External Relations with thatof the High Representative of the CFSP retaining the role’s original duties.
Thistherefore, eliminated the position of Commissioner for External Relations withall responsibilities falling over one spectrum. Additional responsibilities includethat the High Representative enlists proposals to develop policies under theCSFP and follows through under the supervision of the Council ensuring thatproper implementation of the policy happens throughout. The role also overseas the overall externalaction plan the EU takes with regards to crises response, trade, anddevelopment assistance. The official occupying office will beassisted by the European External Service, an organisation having its ownautonomy operating with its own budget and staff. It will aid the HighRepresentative to ensure cohesion and efficiency, prepare their own policy for approvalby the Council, assist other members of the Commission in areas relating toexternal and diplomatic action and cooperation between Member States. Article27 (3) TEU states the officiality of this organisation by stating “that this service shall work incooperation with the diplomatic services of the Member States and shallcomprise officials from relevant departments of the General Secretariat of theCouncil and of the Commission as well as staff seconded from nationaldiplomatic services of the member states. The organisation and functioning ofthe European External Action Service shall be established by a decision of theCouncil.
The Council shall act on a proposal from the High Representative afterconsulting the European Parliament and after obtaining the consent of theCommission.” 3 The Lisbon Treaty also reviewed the waythat the High Representative would be appointed. It was agreed that it would bedone through a qualified majority vote, with the agreement of the CommissionPresident and then approved by the European Parliament. In practice, it wouldmean that the nominated Commissioner would require 55% of the vote to beelected as High Representative. After Javier Solana held the post for 10 years,the revamped role saw officials holding a mandate for 5 years, alike the restof the Commission. Baroness Catherine Ashton, a British politician held thatmandate. Currently, the role is being held by Federica Mogherini, an Italianpolitician belonging to the Socialists and Democrats group.
The role has grown considerably fromthe Treaty of Amsterdam to what it is today thanks to the Lisbon Treaty. At alecture given at the University of Humbolt, Federica Mogherini said that, “shebelieves we and our world need us, because we are indispensable for the powerwe have, yes, but most of all for the way we use it.”4She was referring to the way the European Union can help the world, especially ourneighbours into finding peace by building a good diplomatic defence and toreassure the European Union with further deeper integration in our economicpolicies and investments into European resources. References “EUR-LexAccess to European Union law” (Treaties – EUR-Lex)
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europa.eu.(2018). Foreign policy: aims, instruments and achievements | EU factsheets | European Parliament. online Available at:http://www.europarl.
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europa.eu/media/31133/background-highrepresentative_en.pdfAccessed 13 Jan. 2018. “Europeneeds vision and realism.
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