Wednesday 2 December 2009

Catherine Ashton High Representative of the (European) Union (official decision)

The political EU freaks have watched the preliminary grilling by the European Parliament of Baroness Ahston, but your humble blog servant has been looking for official references, useful for students mindful of their importance in academia, at least until achieving guru status.

New High Rep

Article 1 of the decision by the European Council says it like this:

Baroness Catherine Margaret ASHTON OF UPHOLLAND is hereby appointed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the period from 1 December 2009 until the end of the current term of office of the Commission.

Here is the official decision:

EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION taken with the agreement of the President of the Commission
of 1 December 2009 appointing the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
(2009/880/EU), published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU 2.12.2009 L 315/49).

HR’s tasks

The bare essentials of the High Representative’s tasks are presented in Article 27 TEU (in the consolidated version of the Lisbon Treaty, OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/32):

Article 27 TEU

1. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who shall chair the Foreign Affairs Council, shall contribute through his proposals towards the preparation of the common foreign and security policy and shall ensure implementation of the decisions adopted by the European Council and the Council.

2. The High Representative shall represent the Union for matters relating to the common foreign and security policy. He shall conduct political dialogue with third parties on the Union's behalf and shall express the Union's position in international organisations and at international conferences.

3. In fulfilling his mandate, the High Representative shall be assisted by a European External Action Service. This service shall work in cooperation with the diplomatic services of the Member States and shall 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 organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service shall be established by a decision of the Council. The Council shall act on a proposal from the High Representative after consulting the European Parliament and after obtaining the consent of the Commission.


Naturally, the European Union does not let matters rest there. More detailed provisions are crafted with regard to the interaction between the EU’s new chief diplomat, the member states and the EU institutions.

We have mentioned the approved guidelines earlier. A final proposal is expected next spring.

Ralf Grahn

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