Trust, but Verify? Mapping out Trust in the European Diplomatic Community

Karolina Pomorska

It is a common understanding that through decades of co-operation there has been an emergence of trust between the member states of the European Union. Yet, we have little evidence about the nature of trust and its implications, in particular in times of crisis. It is not sure socialisation leads to the emergence (or increase) in trust but it is also not clear whether different elites and diplomats hold similar conceptions of trust and, therefore, similar expectations from the European project. This explorative paper looks into relationships that evolved between national diplomats from the member states and officials working for the European External Action Service (EEAS). How do they understand trust and to what extent do they trust each other? Do officials from the same institution / country see trust in a similar manner? In the last five years, the EEAS took on important new roles, such as the chairing of the Council Working Groups and the PSC. It has also been responsible for the drafting of the European Global Strategy. Did these activities, characterized by intense interaction, resulted in an improved trusting relationship or have they rather led to a growing suspicion on both sides?

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