The Role of the EU Delegation
The Delegation of the European Union to Syria is one of over 135 European Union Delegations around the world. Delegations are fully accredited diplomatic missions, which represent the European Union.
With a staff of around 50, both of Syrian and European nationalities, the basic mandate of the European Union to Syria is to assure the representation of the European Union towards the Syrian Arab Republic. Officially opened in Damascus in 1979, the Delegation deals with the broad political and economic agenda between the EU and Syria, at a bilateral and regional level. It interacts not only with the government ministries, but also with the business community, civil society and non-governmental organisations in a wide arena, covering political, economic, commercial, financial and technical fields as well as humanitarian assistance.
With over € 200 million in on-going European-Syrian cooperation projects, their management is one of the Delegation's most important activities. The Delegation also conducts negotiations in accordance with approved mandates. Moreover, it shares background information, news and developments on European integration, EU policies, and EU-Syrian cooperation programmes, with the concerned Syrian Government agencies, the media, business and academic circles.
The Delegation also plays an increasing role in the conduct of the EU's foreign affairs. On 1 December 2009, the new Lisbon Treaty entered into force, marking the beginning of a new era in European Union foreign relations. Simplifying and thus strengthening the way the EU functions, the Treaty of Lisbon will enable the EU to speak with a stronger voice on the international scene. The EU's new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is Baroness Catherine Ashton. Simultaneously vice president of the European Commission, she will head a single "European External Action Service". The Delegations of the European Commission all over the world will now come to represent the EU as a whole, thus becoming Delegations of the EU. This will benefit the EU itself as much as its relations with Syria.