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The EEAS: Diplomatic Dreams and the Reality of European and International Law

Ramses Wessel, Bart Van Vooren

'The institutional balance in EU external relations has changed fundamentally. [hellip;] The EU diplomatic service is a real institution' (Finnish Foreign Minister, 2010). However, it is far from clear whether shifting diplomatic competences from states to the EU could be accommodated in the current international legal framework. This paper will examine the diplomatic ambitions of the EEAS, and analyze the extent to which the current international legal framework is able to cope with a 'fundamental change' in the institutions of EU external relations to allow the EU to act alongside states at the global level. Emerging questions not only relate to the nature of international diplomatic law, but also to the possible international responsibility of the EEAS and/or the EU Member States. On the basis of this analysis, the paper aims to point to possible inadequacies in the planned structure of European diplomacy and/or the applicable international rules.

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