The institutional framework of CFSP
The Treaty of Lisbon's principal amendment to the CFSP is the creation of the post of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in replacement of the post of the High Representative for the CFSP. The European Council, acting by a qualified majority, with the agreement of the President of the Commission, appoints the High Representative. The European Council may end his term of office by the same procedure. The High Representative conducts the Union's common foreign and security policy. He contributes by his proposals to the development of that policy, which he carries out as mandated by the Council. The same applies to the common security and defence policy. The High Representative presides over the Foreign Affairs Council, while being one of the Vice-Presidents of the Commission (Article 18 TEU).
This association of the Commission and the Council in the person of the High Representative of the Union can be beneficial for the common foreign and security policy. Exercising the right of initiative of the Commission, the High Representative may contribute to the development of the CFSP, which he or she must carry out as mandated by the Council. He or she shall also have responsibilities incumbent on the Commission in external relations and for coordinating the CFSP with other aspects of the Union’s external action, in particular the common commercial policy and the policy of aid to development. By presiding over the Foreign Affairs Council, the High Representative of the Union should contribute by his proposals to the preparation of common foreign and security policy and ensure implementation of decisions adopted by the European Council and the Council of Ministers.
The High Representative represents the Union for matters relating to the common foreign and security policy. He or she conducts political dialogue with third parties on the Union's behalf and expresses the Union's position in international organisations and at international conferences (Article 27 TEU). However, according to Article 15 of the treaty on European Union, the President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity, ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy, without prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Those powers are not clearly defined in the treaty. Unless decided otherwise in a certain case, the President of the European Council should logically represent the Union (with or without the President of the Commission) in meetings of heads of states or governments, while the High Representative should represent the Union in international meetings at ministerial level.
In fulfilling his or her mandate, the High Representative is assisted by a European External Action Service (EEAS). This service works in cooperation with the diplomatic services of the Member States and comprises officials from relevant departments of the General Secretariat of the Council and of the Commission as well as staff seconded from national diplomatic services of the Member States (Article 27 TEU). The EEAS is made up of a central administration in Brussels and of the Union Delegations to third countries and to international organisations [Decision 2010/427]. This multinational service could develop into a real European diplomatic corps; a development which could enhance the image of the Union in the world.
A Political and Security Committee, composed of national representatives of senior/ambassadorial level, monitors the international situation in the areas covered by the common foreign and security policy and contributes to the definition of policies by delivering opinions to the Council. It also monitors the implementation of agreed policies (Article 38 TEU) [see section 8.2.3]. The Chair of the Political and Security Committee is held by a representative of the High Representative of the Union.