Between Irrelevance and Integration? New Challenges to Diplomacy in the 21st Century and the Role of the EEAS

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Series Details No.8, November 2014
Publication Date November 2014
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The changing nature of diplomacy poses new challenges for diplomatic actors in the 21st century, who have to adapt their structures in order to remain relevant on the international stage. The growing interdependence and complexity of issues necessitate a more networked approach to diplomacy, while states retain their predominance in diplomacy. The main underlying challenge of modern diplomacy therefore requires finding a balance between traditional and new elements.

This paper examines to what extent the European External Action Service (EEAS) meets the new challenges of modern diplomacy and copes with the diverse interests of the other stakeholders involved, namely the institutions and Member States of the European Union (EU).

On the basis of a conceptual framework of modern diplomacy and an analysis of the different aspects of the EEAS’ structures, the paper argues that the EEAS does not fully meet the new challenges to diplomacy, since the interests of the other stakeholders put constraints on its free development. The latter therefore have to choose between irrelevance and integration with regard to EU foreign policy and the future of the EEAS.

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College of Europe: Study: EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies: Research Activities: EU Diplomacy Papers [PDF]

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