The High Representative's Review of the European External Action Service (EEAS), was circulated to EU Foreign Ministers in late July. Ireland welcomes the opportunity to take stock of the performance of the EEAS following its first two and a half years in operation. The Review was the subject of discussions at the informal Foreign Ministers meeting which I co-hosted, together with Cathy Ashton, in Dublin in March of this year. The Review contains a large number of recommendations, some of which are already being implemented; others will require careful consideration in the period ahead. Ireland, along with other Member States, is currently reflecting upon these recommendations and their implications, which are being discussed at senior official level in Brussels.
Ireland supports a strong EEAS which fulfils the vision set out in the Lisbon treaty of an effective and coherent foreign policy. As such, we welcome the recommendation within the Review which emphasises that development policy expertise needs to be strengthened within the EEAS. Over the longer term, we believe that this has the potential to assist in the more effective integration of development into the EU’s overall foreign policy.
The publication of the EEAS Review is also timely and important in the context of the forthcoming European Council discussion on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Much progress has been made over the past nine months in reforming planning and administrative procedures which will ensure that the EU continues to develop a comprehensive approach to crisis management, and is in a position to respond quickly and effectively to crises as they emerge. There are currently seven Irish officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade serving with the EEAS. This is in line with the commitment to achieve one third representation by diplomats from the Member States in the EEAS and is reflective of Ireland's percentage of the EU population.