A humble servant or an agenda-setter? The role(s) of the European External Action Service as chair of Council Working Groups on EU´s Common and Foreign Policy

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Since 2010, the EU`s External Action Service (EEAS) is the permanent chair of the Council working groups on the EU´s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), thus terminating the procedural rule of EU member states alternatingly holding the presidency of such working groups for a period of sixmonths. This thesis aims therefore at exploring the consequences of the EEAS taking over the chairmanship of CFSP Council working groups, with special focus on the bearing it has had on EU Member states´ abilities to influence decisions taken in such areas. Using the theoretical framework of role theory, this thesis will highlight the importance of the interplay between role conceptions from EEAS officials and role expectations from EU member states´ delegates in order to understand how such abilities have been affected. The concepts of role conflict and role conformity will have a particular significance in this matter. The material that forms the base of this study is produced through semi-structured interviews, and will be analyzed through the lenses of mixed methods, with both quantitative and qualitative tools. The outcome of this study shows that EU member states´ abilities to influence CFSP decision-making has decreased for roles related to two fundamental dimensions, “management” and “strategic guidance”, but has not been affected for roles related to the dimension of “brokerage”

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