CEPS Task Force

EEAS 2.0

How can the Service play a stronger role in forging a more coherent, visible and effective EU foreign policy?


At a time when the EU needs to act as a united international player in order not to become a pawn in the hands of major powers, member states are struggling to muster the political will to set aside their disagreements and focus on the common interest. A crisis-decade and two HRVPs on from the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the European External Action Service (EEAS) still suffers from a lack of buy-in and follow-up by the member states and other parts of the EU administration.

The tenth anniversary of the adoption of Council Decision 2010/427/EU establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service and the creation of the EEAS in January 2011 provide an opportune moment to take stock of the role which the Service has played in forging a more coherent, visible and effective EU foreign policy.

Building on a fruitful research cooperation between SIEPS and CEPS in 2012-13, which led to the publication of a well-received and widely distributed legal commentary on Council Decision 2010/427/EU and a set of recommendations to amend it, the institutes have now joined forces with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) to investigate how the role and functioning of the EEAS can be improved to better serve the common interests of the European Union.

A high-level group of (former) diplomats, officials of EU institutions and member states, as well as NGO representatives, academics and think tankers will participate in an independent review of the Service with the aim of formulating ideas to strengthen the value added that the EEAS can offer.

Mission: To develop and disseminate policy recommendations to strengthen the role and functioning of the EEAS

Format: An expert group composed of (former) politicians, diplomats, officials and opinion-makers

Support: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and SIEPS

Governance: CEPS and SIEPS manage the Task Force, propose the agenda for its meetings, ensure timely delivery of discussion papers, draw up the analytical report, distil policy recommendations, ensure quality control by organising peer review by the Task Force, and organise communication and dissemination

Meetings: 3 half-day meetings between July-October 2020

Report Publication: November 2020

Dissemination: November 2020-June 2021

Chairman: Pierre Vimont, Ambassadeur de France, Senior Associate Researcher at Carnegie Europe, first Executive Secretary General of the EEAS

Rapporteurs: Christophe Hillion, Senior Researcher at SIEPS and Professor of European Law at the universities of Oslo and Leiden
Steven Blockmans, Director a.i. of CEPS and Professor of EU External Relations Law and Governance at the University of Amsterdam

Gerhard Conrad,
Visiting Professor, King’s College London, former Director of EU INTCEN, member of BND, UN mediator in the Middle East
Janos Herman, former EUSR for Central Asia, HoD in Georgia, Norway & Iceland, PermRep of Hungary to NATO, Permanent Secretary of the MFA
Renée Jones-Bos, former Secretary General of the MFA and Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States and Russia
Nicole Koenig, Deputy Director of the Jacques Delors Centre, Berlin
Christian Leffler, former Deputy Secretary General for Global and Economic Issues, and Managing Director for the Americas, EEAS
Lotte Leicht, Director of the Brussels Office of Human Rights Watch
Christian Lequesne, Professor of European Politics at Sciences Po and Professor at the College of Europe
James Moran, Senior Associate Fellow at CEPS, former Principal Advisor for the MENA and Asia Director at the EEAS, HoD in Egypt, Jordan & Yemen
David O’Sullivan, Chairman of EPC governing board, former HoD to the US, EEAS Chief Operating Officer, SG and DG Trade of the Commission
Elena Poptodorova, Vice President of the Atlantic Treaty Association and the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria; twice Ambassador of Bulgaria to the US
Kristi Raik, Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute
Annika Söder, President of the Board of Governors of EIP, former State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Assistant DG of the FAO
Renate Tenbusch, Director of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s EU Office, Brussels
Nathalie Tocci, Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali and Special Adviser to EU HRVP Josep Borrell
Vygaudas Ušackas, former EU HoD in Russia, EUSR for Afghanistan, Lithuanian Amb. to the US, Mexico, UK, Chief Negotiator for EU accession
Beata Wojna, Lecturer at Tecnológico de Monterrey, former Ambassador of Poland to Mexico (accred. Central America) , former Deputy Director of PISM
Catherine Woollard, Secretary General, European Council on Refugees and Exiles

Observers: Incumbents of the EU institutions, EEAS, MFAs and partners of the Task Force will be invited to act as observers

Steven Blockmans

Director of Research

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