The European External Action Service (EEAS) is the diplomatic service and foreign and defence ministry of the European Union (EU). The EEAS is led by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), who is also President of the Foreign Affairs Council and Vice-President of the European Commission, and carries out the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
The EEAS does not propose or implement policy in its own name, but prepares acts to be adopted by the High Representative, the European Commission or the Council. The EEAS is also in charge of EU diplomatic missions (delegations) and intelligence and crisis management structures.
The EEAS, as well as the office of the HR, was initiated following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009. It was formally established on 1 December 2010. The EEAS was formed by merger of the external relations departments of the European Commission and of the Council, which were joined by staff seconded from national diplomatic services of the Member States. Although it supports both the Commission and the Council, the EEAS is independent from them and has its own staff, as well as a separate section in the EU budget.
The EEAS and the European Defence Agency (EDA) together form the Secretariat of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the structural integration pursued by 25 of the 28 national armed forces of the EU since 2017.