View All

'Coming from the Cold': MS Diplomats Seconded to the European External Action Service - Why and how Background Factors of EU Officials and Seconded National Diplomats (SNDs) Impact on the Decision-making Behavior of the European Foreign Policy Machinery

Thomas Henökl

Who are the people making EU foreign policy? Literature on representative bureaucracy (RB) assumes that officials' background (gender, nationality or ethnicity, education and expertise) matters for the legitimacy of government administrations or international organizations. Representation, understood as 'passive' RB, is a mirror of a society under the jurisdiction of this administration. In the case international bureaucracies agents are usually recruited according to a set of selection criteria (merit, educational and professional background, national or gender quota) from the member-states' constituencies. Beyond the legitimacy aspect of having different parts of the society/societies represented in the demography of (inter-)governmental institutions, there lies however the question of 'active representation', i.e. whether and to what extent these demographical background factors have an impact on the organizational behavior. Officials' own values, beliefs, norms, identity and opinions, but also cognitive limitations may affect their behavior, and ultimately - through acts of individual or collective decision-making - the organizational behavior. The puzzle this contribution addresses is whether and how the combination of agents from different institutional provenance and socialization influences the decision-making behaviour, and how it may impact the degree of autonomy of the foreign policy-making machinery. Based on two fresh data-sets, a survey among 184 EU foreign policy bureaucrats and 46 elite interviews with decision-makers, I demonstrate how the mix of organizational affiliation and sources of recruitment influence conflicts and cleavages, contact patterns as well as the loyalty of officials, and, further, the behaviour of the EU foreign policy machinery.

The abstracts and papers on this website reflect the views and opinions of the author(s). UACES cannot be held responsible for the opinions of others. Conference papers are works-in-progress - they should not be cited without the author's permission.