The Origins of common action capacities: Observations on the recruitment of Member States’ diplomats and officials to the European External Action Service (EEAS)

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Series Details No.01, March 2013
Publication Date 2013
ISSN 1890- 7741
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The Treaty of Lisbon introduced the rise of common action capacities in EU’s external relations administration, notably the European External Action Service (EEAS). One essential capacity is staff resources. This paper analyses to what extent and under what conditions the recruitment practice of staff to the EEAS is independent of government influence. One hard probe of this is the recruitment of officials temporarily assigned from EU member-states. The data draws on interviews with officials from all 27 member-states as well as the EEAS charged with the selection of national public servants to the EEAS. Key findings suggest substantial independence of recruitment to the EEAS, and this independence is facilitated under two particular conditions: (i) the supply of administrative capacities at EU level strengthen the EEAS’ capacity to nurture an independent recruitment of its personnel, and (ii) the recruitment of EEAS personnel is fashioned by pre-existing organisational traditions, practices and formats.

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