Secretariat, Facilitator or Policy Entrepreneur? Role Perceptions of Officials of the Council Secretariat

Ana E. Juncos, Karolina Pomorska


The Council Secretariat General has emerged as one of the institutional winners of the dynamic development of the EU’s foreign and security policy, especially in the field of crisis management. Despite this, the role of the Council Secretariat in European foreign policy remains under researched. Based on extensive qualitative and quantitative data, the article provides new insights into the context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by examining the role(s) of the Council Secretariat and its officials from the perspective of the latter. Firstly, it discusses the theoretical framework drawing on the insights of role theory. Secondly, it provides a historical account of how the Secretariat has developed into the kind of actor it is today – especially in foreign and security policies – and also presents rich empirical evidence about EU diplomats (e.g. nationality, professional background, etc.). Third, it explores in detail the officials’ views on the roles they themselves play and the roles of the Secretariat as an institution involved in the making of European foreign policy. In this regard, the article reveals interesting differences amongst the constitutive parts of the Secretariat as to how they perceive both their individual and institutional roles. It also uncovers potential conflicts in perceptions between old and new institutional roles.


European officials, role theory, role conceptions, role conflict, CFSP, ESDP, external relations, governance, institutions, institutionalisation, political science

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