Programming EU External Action Post-Lisbon: New Opportunities or Business as Usual?

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Series Details No.2, 2012, p25-29
Publication Date 2012
ISSN 1025-6253
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Over 90% of the external relations budget of the EU is processed through its external financial instruments. With the Lisbon Treaty and the creation of the new European External Action Service (EEAS), the institutional architecture of these instruments was significantly reformed.

This contribution analyses strategic programming both pre- and post-Lisbon, identifies ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, and examines the potential of the new provisions to increase the coherence of EU external action.

The examination shows that the instruments can be categorised into three groupings: ‘the big three’ comprising the bulk of funding characterised by joint programming and responsibilities; the ‘Commission-only’ instruments where all powers remain with the Commission; and the ‘EEAS-led rest’ in which the High Representative and the EEAS play a strong role but only have limited financial resources available. The new system calls for strong coordination of all involved actors in order to make it work.

Findings of a case study on the Instrument for Stability reveal, however, that so far the establishment of the EEAS has not made a substantial impact on strategic programming in its first two years.

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