The European External Action Service (EEAS) will work in cooperation with the diplomatic services of the member states and it will comprise officials from relevant departments of the General Secretariat of the Council and of the Commission as well as staff seconded from national diplomatic services of the member states.
The EEAS is one of the important Lisby Treaty reforms.
The organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service will be established by a Council decision, on a proposal from the High Representative after consulting the European Parliament and after obtaining the consent of the Commission.
According to Lisbon Treaty Declaration (No 15) on Article 27 of the Treaty on European Union stated that as soon as the Treaty of Lisbon is signed, the Secretary-General of the Council, High Representative for the common foreign and security policy, the Commission and the Member States should begin preparatory work on the European External Action Service.
As usual, the Council has been less than zealous in informing the public on the preparatory work.
The only breach has been the memorandum of the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), which has found its way into the public domain, for instance Jamie Smyth’s blog post “The Benelux strikes back against Blair” (EUobserver, 6 October 2009).
Nicolas Gros-Verheyde presents the Benelux position on the EEAS in “L’avis du Benelux sur le futur service européen d’action extérieure” (Bruxelles2, 8 October 2009), with a link to the whole document and discussion about other aspects of the memo in other blog posts.
Patrice Cardot also presents the memorandum and comments on it in “Mise en oeuvre du traité de Lisbonne : le point de vue du Bénélux” (Regards citoyens, 8 October 2009). There is a link to the document.
I did not find the Benelux position paper on any official web site, so it has probably been leaked. Positive for the free flow of information, but lower marks for openness as a fundamental principle of policy making.
Grosso modo, the European Parliament is the only EU institution which has prepared its opinions about Lisbon Treaty implementation in public. A number of resolutions were prepared and voted last spring (and presented on this blog).
Yesterday’s Grahnlaw blog post ‘EU “diplomatic service”: All shock and horror?’ mentioned the Draft report on the institutional aspects of setting up the European External Action Service (Committee on Constitutional Affairs AFCO, 23 September 2009, rapporteur: Elmar Brok).
The Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) is preparing an opinion for AFCO: Draft opinion on the institutional aspects of setting up the European External Action Service (25 September 2009, rapporteur: Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck).
The Council and the Commission have done little to inform the public about preparatory work for the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. When the democratic approval has been attained in 27 EU member states, there are few excuses left for leaving the public in the dark.
Openness is the first test of the Lisbon Treaty.
Where are the documents?
Where are the candidates?