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Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs (HRVP) has obtained far-reaching powers to formulate, coordinate and implement ÉU external policies, traditionally a prerogative of the state. In the exercise of this delegated powers, the HRVP is assisted by a dedicated administrative body, the European External Action Service (EEAS). Formal decision-making over the EU‘s common foreign and security policy lies with the Council, while the European Neighborhood and Trade policies, as well as international cooperation remain competences of the EU-Commission. Concomitantly, the EEAS is situated within several, partly overlapping and conflicting accountability relationships. The ensuing question is: To what extent, how and by whom can the HRVP and the EEAS be held politically to account? With data from official documents, 50 semi-structured interviews and a survey among 184 EU foreign policy-makers, the article maps and assesses of the multi-level actor/forum relationships of the EU's foreign policy machinery.


multi-level accountability, EU foreign policy, popular control, checks and balances, legitimacy, European external action service

Cite this paper

Henökl, T. (2016). Conflict and Continuity in European Diplomatic Cultures: Accountability, Scrutiny and Control in EU External Affairs. International Relations and Diplomacy, 4(5), 324-340.


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