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EU: Diplomatic Service

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 5 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How an enlarged European Union diplomatic service will affect the size and influence of the United Kingdom diplomatic service. [HL622]

The EU reform treaty makes provision for an European External Action Service, drawn from relevant departments of the General Secretariat of the Council and of the Commission as well as staff seconded from member states' diplomatic services. It will assist the high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy, and simplify the existing arrangements for support to the high representative for the common foreign and security policy and the Commissioner for External Relations. It will not replace the UK diplomatic service.

The declarations covering the common foreign and security policy accompanying the treaty clearly state that the treaty's provisions,

“will not affect the existing legal basis, responsibilities, and powers of each member state in relation to the formulation and conduct of its foreign policy, its national diplomatic service, relations with third countries and participation in international organisations, including a member state's membership of the Security Council of the UN”.