About the European External Action Service (EEAS)

The EEAS is the European Union's diplomatic service. It helps the EU's foreign affairs chief – the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – carry out the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Formally launched on 1 January 2011, the Service was created by the Treaty of Lisbon, which itself entered into force in 2009. The principles guiding the EU's activity abroad are defined in the Treaty:

The Union's action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement, and which it seeks to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.

The External Action Service, as envisioned by the Treaty, brings together expertise from EU and national diplomatic services:

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.

Relation to other EU institutions

The EU foreign policy is steered by the European Council and defined by the Foreign Affairs Council, which brings together the Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States every month. The High Representative chairs these meetings. Once policy is determined by the Council, it is up to the EEAS to carry it out.

The EEAS cooperates with the European Commission on many issues – adopting a comprehensive approach for the EU's foreign policy. This is the case, for example, when it comes to the EU's assistance to developing countries ('development aid'). Yet the Service is structurally and financially independent from the Commission.

Finally, the EEAS also works with the European Parliament. At least twice a year the High Representative  reports on foreign policy and activities to the Parliament and answers questions from Members of the European Parliament. The EEAS assists the High Representative with this task.

Relations to EU countries

The EEAS makes sure that cooperation between the EU and EU Member States is strong when it comes to foreign affairs and policy. The very structure of the organisation, with civil servants from both the EU and the EU countries, creates a living link.


High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Federica Mogherini

Members of the EEAS Corporate Board

Executive Secretary General: Pierre Vimont  

Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs: Helga Schmid

Deputy Secretary General for Inter-institutional Affairs: Maciej Popowski

Managing Directors

Asia: Viorel Isticioaia Budura

Africa: Nicholas Westcott

Europe and Central Asia: Luis Felipe Fernández de la Peña

Middle East and Southern Neighbourhood: Hugues Mingarelli

Americas: Christian Leffler

Global and Multilateral Issues: Maria Marinaki

Other Senior Managers

Director General, EU Military Staff (EUMS): Lt Gen Wolfgang Wosolsobe

Director, Crisis Management and Planning Department (CMPD): Gabor Iklody

Director, Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC): Kenneth Deane

Director, EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (EU INTCEN): Ilkka Salmi

Director, Permanent Chair of the Political and Security Committee (PSC): Walter Stevens



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