The role of the European Commission in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has been the subject of various publications by (former) officials and think tank experts (Nuttall, Cameron, Spence, Duke, etc.). While these publications provide a wealth of empirical material, hardly any attempt has been made to this date to theorize its role in the second pillar. This is surprising, as the theoretical role of the European Commission (and of supranational institutions) constitutes one of the major academic debates in the broader study of European integration. This paper aims to analyze the reasons why member states have delegated tasks to the European Commission in the field of foreign policy (1970-2008). It discusses three competing theory-informed rationales for delegation (power; functional needs; appropriateness). It tests these explanations by studying in-depth key historical moments of the (non)-delegation of tasks to the Commission. By analyzing more precisely why member states have delegated tasks in foreign policy, this paper intends to improve our understanding of the current role of the European Commission.
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