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

Ramses A. Wessel, Bart Van Vooren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article confronts the diplomatic ambitions of the European External Action Service (EEAS) with the reality of European Union (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 co-operation and reciprocity. Subsequently, the article outlines how the EU's ambitions sit uncomfortably with traditional state-centred international diplomatic law. Extensive diplomatic activity of the EU depends on the willingness of third states to accept the EU as a diplomatic actor
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1350-1367
JournalJournal of European public policy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2013


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