European Diplomacy: Europe Raises its Voice

European Union countries have something like four times as many diplomats as the United States. With a report on the Union’s own overseas representation to be discussed in June, some are asking whether separate national foreign services are good value. Is the new constitution on the verg of creating a European foreign ministry?

The World Today Published 1 March 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 5 minute READ

Brian Hocking

Professor, Centre for the Study of Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, Coventry University

David Spence

Special Advisor to the European Commission for European security, defence policy and counter-terrorism

Some predict the emergence of a European diplomatic service and the gradual marginalisation of national foreign ministries and their networks. For others, the presence of the European Commission on the world stage is a diplomatic aberration – a view reflected in a comment by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. In reply to a question on European Union Commission delegations, he observed that ‘sometimes you find all sort of odd-bods from the EU running all sorts of odd offices around the world’.

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