The EEAS' diplomatic dreams and the reality of European and international law

Ramses A. Wessel, Bart Van Vooren

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The aim of this paper is to confront the diplomatic ambitions of the European External Action Service (EEAS) with the reality of EU and international law. Treaty provisions as well as policy documents and statements of EU officials reveal a development in the direction of a strengthened role for the EU itself as a diplomatic actor. The findings underline a continued tension between the EU’s diplomatic ambitions and EU and international law as it stands. In relation to the EU’s internal structures, there is no doubt that in the new EU institutional landscape dividing lines remain firmly in place. Yet, the working arrangements do point to ‘holistic’ thinking implying cooperation and reciprocity. In addition the paper argues that the EU’s ambitions sit uncomfortably with traditional state-centred international diplomatic law. Extensive diplomatic activity of the EU depends on the acceptance by the willingness of third states to accept the EU as a diplomatic actor.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event42nd UACES Annual Conference 2012: Old Borders - New Frontiers - Passau
Duration: 3 Sep 20125 Sep 2012
Conference number: 42


Conference42nd UACES Annual Conference 2012
Internet address


  • IR-82239
  • METIS-289072

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