Matching Skills to a New Diplomatic Context
The European External Action Service (EEAS) is a significant innovation in international politics. Nevertheless, claims about its novelty and distinctiveness are overstated. Foreign ministries and international organizations have historically faced and are currently facing very similar challenges to those of the EEAS. Foreign ministries have constantly wrestled with line ministries over control of policy decisions in important issue areas such as energy, finance, and climate. Additionally, international organizations have a long history of trying to build a cadre of civil servants that forego their national loyalties and become professionally committed to the mandate of the organization.
Most importantly, much like the EEAS, both international organizations and foreign ministries find themselves having to adapt to a new diplomatic context in which the task of representation is being gradually replaced by that of governance. To succeed among other competitors, both internally and externally, the EEAS needs to build a culture in which skills are matched to ever changing contexts.