The Evolving Role of Foreign Ministries in the Conduct of European Union Affairs

  • David Spence
Part of the Studies in Diplomacy and International Relations book series (SID)


As the previous chapter has demonstrated, if the world of diplomacy has changed, the issue of whether the foreign ministry per se is in decline, or is enmeshed in more subtle processes of change and adaptation remains to be determined. But the evidence provided in this book suggests that despite many predicaments and forms of adaptation common to foreign ministries around the world, there are aspects of uniqueness in the European experience. The EU institutional and decision-making structures clearly influence national administrative arrangements. So, the challenge presented to the contributors was to review how two specific EU-related tasks performed by European foreign ministries could lead us to telling conclusions about their current condition. The first is the coordination of European and international aspects of domestic policy, and the second the provision of national input to EU external relations. The term ‘external relations’ covers three areas: traditional ‘first pillar’ areas of trade, development, EU enlargement and technical assistance; ‘second pillar’ policies — the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP); and finally the international aspects of the EU’s justice and home affairs cooperation in the so-called ‘third pillar’.1


Member State Foreign Policy Security Policy Foreign Ministry Home Affair 
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© David Spence 2005

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  • David Spence

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