The High Representative 3.0:
Taking EU foreign policy to the next level
Finnish Institute of International Affairs
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2014, Catherine Ashton’s successor is scheduled to start his term as High
Representative of the Union. The ‘High Representative 3.0’ has the opportunity
to realize the as yet untapped potentials of the office.
As chair of
the Foreign Affairs Council, it was challenging for the High Representative to
set priorities. Foreign ministries and the High Representative can benefit from
making a joint effort to formulate common priorities for the foreseeable future
at the start of the term.
Representative and the European Council President had an uncompetitive, but
also reserved leadership style. The next duo might vie for primacy in CFSP
matters. Instead, it is important that they bridge any divide between the
Foreign Affairs Council and European Council and lead in tandem.
Representative needs to activate his ‘Commission hat’. A possible hierarchical organisation
of Commissioners within thematic clusters would put the High Representative formally
in charge of the Commission’s external relations. When it comes to the European
Neighbourhood Policy in particular, the EU’s external relations could benefit
from a clear hierarchical division of authority.
member states’ ‘ownership’ of EU foreign policy and its institutions will be
one of the key tasks for the incoming High Representative. His cabinet can
fulfill a bridging function between the foreign policy chief, the EEAS
leadership and member states.