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A Diplomatic Entrepreneur_Making the Most of the European External Action Service

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The European Union’s foreign policy remains a work in progress. Over the last year, the considerable political and economic upheaval within the EU has monopolized the attention of Europe’s leaders. They have been consumed by the immediate demands of an economic emergency and may need to turn now to creating a new institutional framework to try to avoid such crises in the future.

Against this challenging backdrop, Baroness Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, has overseen the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the new pan-European diplomatic corps. The EEAS was created to help her give greater coherence and force to EU diplomacy, but it has faced a challenging birth, marked by rivalry and competition between stakeholders, institutional inertia and persis- tent criticism from a sometimes vicious press. The first anniversary of the service’s inauguration provides an appropriate moment to take stock of its progress and review its future direction.

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