A Democratically Accountable External Action Service: Three Scenarios

Jozef Bátora

Abstract


Democratic accountability is an aspect that seems to have been almost entirely overlooked in the discussions on the evolving role of the European External Action Service (EEAS). In modern democratic societies, it is increasingly difficult to sustain the claim that foreign policy and diplomacy are incompatible with democratic decision-making and accountability. What is more, for the external service representing the EU as an entity aspiring to play the role of a mentor in state- and democracy-building processes in various countries around the world, ensuring democratic accountability necessarily becomes a key concern. While this is the case, the literature on the EEAS has at best only partially addressed this issue so far. This article seeks to bridge that gap and discuss ways of how democratic accountability could be ensured in the EEAS in its various possible organizational configurations. It hence addresses some of the key issues addressed by this special issue – institutionalization of administrative arrangements in support of the ESDP, the role of non-elected officials in the EU’s external relations and, indeed, evolving mechanisms for ensuring political control of the EU’s external action. In the first section, the paper discusses the notion of democratic accountability and reviews the state of the debate regarding democratic accountability in the EEAS. Three models of a democratic order in the EU are then suggested (cf Eriksen and Fossum) and based on those, three scenarios of developing democratic accountability in the EEAS are elaborated upon - the EEAS as a support agency for member state diplomacy; the EEAS as a federal foreign service of the EU; and the EEAS as a cosmopolitan normative entrepreneur.

Keywords


Diplomacy, European Union, European External Action Service, foreign service, democracy, accountability, bureaucracy, institutional change, administration, ESDP, CFSP, non-elected officials, political control, cosmopolitanism

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