The European Commission has adopted yesterday a draft proposal amending the Staff Regulations in view of the establishment of the External Action Service.

(COM(2010) 309 final) (SG VISTA)/ COM(2010) 309 final (EUR-LEX)

The main purpose of the proposed amendments is to assure the main human resources requirements needed to set up the EEAS, by organising the transfer of Commission and Council officials to the EEAS together with the recruitment of national diplomats.

Vice-President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration Maroš Šef?ovi? said: “The establishment of this new diplomatic service is a huge opportunity for the EU. Our goal is to make sure that the EEAS is staffed in the most efficient, transparent and fair way possible, in accordance with the aims of the Treaty. It is vital to ensure proper representation and geographical balance of staff from national diplomatic services and we have proposed a number of measures to achieve this.”

Composition of the EEAS

Once the Decision on the establishment of the EEAS comes into force, large numbers of staff will be directly transferred from the Commission and the Council to the Service, either on an individual basis or as part of a unit. All vacant posts will be published and open to candidates from national diplomatic services. In addition, in order to guarantee adequate representation of staff from national diplomatic services, the High Representative may decide that, until 30 June 2013, priority may be given for certain posts in the EEAS to candidates from those services in case of substantially equal qualifications. After this first phase, equal access would also be extended to officials of the European Parliament and other EU institutions.

Equal treatment

In addition to open selection procedures, the proposals would give equal treatment to all staff in terms of working conditions. Successful candidates from national diplomatic services would be employed as members of temporary staff, giving them the same conditions of employment as officials. These temporary agent contracts could be renewed beyond the current limit of six years. Furthermore, if there are officials who have been transferred from the Commission or the Council and who wish to return to their institution of origin, the institutions will facilitate this mobility by treating these individuals in the same way as internal candidates of their institutions.


The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, created the office of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, and specified that this person would be assisted by the European External Action Service (EEAS). The establishment of the EEAS requires an Establishment Decision, which was submitted to the Council on 22 April, amendments to the Financial Regulation and the Staff Regulations, as well as the adoption of an amending budget. Article 27 of the Treaty states that the EEAS shall comprise officials from the relevant departments of the Council, the Commission, and staff seconded from national diplomatic services of the Member States.

The changes, which were discussed intensively with the staff unions, are aimed at ensuring equal treatment between the Service’s three sources of staff – from the Council, the Commission and the national diplomatic services. These proposals pave the way for setting up the basic framework of the EEAS’s personnel policy, but do not concern its organisation chart or the details of its future staff policy.