Europe Abroad:
Carving Out a New Place in the International Arena
November 2011
Two years after the appointment of Catherine Ashton to the post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and one year after the introduction of the European External Action Service (EEAS), an analysis of the (limited) results so far achieved is required.
‘ISPI Studies’ cover this issue by highlighting the drawbacks of the new EU diplomatic corps in terms of efficiency of the internal decision-making process and external representation.
This also implies the fine-tuning, if not plain redefinition, of the EU strategic role in the international arena: a most necessary move if the EU – whose international standing is already challenged by today’s debt crisis – intends to escape the fate of a declining power. Clearly, this has to be done in the framework of a renewed EU-US relation where objectives, tools and burden-sharing between the two sides of the Atlantic are reconsidered to better fit in the emerging balance of power of the XXI century. Scholars and experts contributed to the ‘ISPI Studies’ by providing analysis, insights and policy recommendations.


Antonio Villafranca, Senior Research Fellow ISPI and Head of Program on Europe presents the study.


From Global Europe to the Neighborhood:
Time for a New Strategy

Enrico Fassi

The European Union is standing at a strategic crossroads. The Lisbon treaty and the establishment of the External Action Service provide the potential for a more coherent, effective... continue »

The EEAS: Diplomacy in Search of a Strategy?

Richard G. Whitman

With the creation of the EEAS, the EU’s common foreign and security policy has reached a fork in the road. Either the EU builds a diplomatic service supported and equipped to... continue »

The EU Foreign Policy and Security Identity:
Waning or Waxing?

James Sperling

At the turn of the new century, the institutional role and security identity assigned to the EU were relatively unambiguous for Americans and Europeans alike. The US viewed... continue »

Can the EU be Effective without an Army?

Clara Portela

One year has passed since the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The debate on European foreign policy during the EEAS’ inaugural year has centred on the... continue »

The EEAS at work:
Structure and Power Distribution

Marco Valigi

Even if the thought and the practice of negotiation exist since the human race, the development of diplomatic institutions is strictly related to the Westphalian state system. Since then... continue »

The limits of institutional engineering:
the EEAS and the EU’s Power
in a Changing Environment

Caterina Carta

Power can be defined as one’s ability to get what one wants. This requires the capacity to influence other actors’ behavior, presupposes the “capabilities” to do so and a vision... continue »


Antonio Villafranca (head of research), Marco Valigi (coordination), Caterina Carta, Enrico Fassi, Clara Portela, James Sperling, Richard G. Whitman.