The Treaty of Lisbon contains two important institutional innovations that impact on EU external action, it creates:
In November 2009, the European Council appointed Catherine Ashton High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. In this capacity she chairs the Foreign Affairs Council. She is also a Vice-President of the European Commission and ensures consistency and coordination of EU external action.
The High Representative is assisted by the European External Action Service (EEAS). EEAS staff come from the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council and the Diplomatic Services of EU Member States.