The former "Commission's representations abroad fall under the EEAS as EU "embassies (although representing the whole of the EU under Lisbon, the Commission had wanted to retain management). The delegations would also support visits from MEPs, delegation heads would have hearings in Parliament (though no veto) and they are at the disposal of Parliament for questions concerning the country they dealt with. There are EU delegations in nearly every UN member state and each head of delegation is the "EU ambassador (appointed by the High Representative).
On 1 January 2010 all former European Commission delegations were renamed European Union delegations and were gradually upgraded into embassy-type missions that employ greater powers than the regular delegations. These upgraded delegations have taken on the role previously carried out by the national embassies of the member state holding the rotating "Presidency of the Council of the European Union and merged with the independent Council delegations around the world. Through this the EU delegations take on the role of co-ordinating national embassies and speaking for the EU as a whole, not just the Commission.
The first delegation to be upgraded was the one in Washington D.C., the new "joint ambassador was Joao Vale de Almeida who outlined his new powers as speaking for both the Commission and Council presidents, and member states. He would be in charge where there was a common position but otherwise, on bilateral matters, he would not take over from national ambassadors. All delegations are expected to be converted by the end of 2010. Some states may choose to operate through the new EU delegations and close down some of their smaller national embassies, however France has indicated that it will maintain its own network around the world for now.
The EEAS's budget is proposed and managed by the "HR and be signed off every year by Parliament. Parliament would also review the budget of each EU mission; Parliament's oversight would put an end to a long-standing "gentlemen's agreement whereby Parliament and Council do not look at each other's budget details.
Parliament has fought to gain oversight over the EEAS and under final plans the budget, though independent, would be scrutinised by MEPs who can approve or reject it. Parliament would also be consulted on overseas missions and have stronger budgetary oversight over those too. They would also informally vet appointments to prominent foreign embassies and have access to some classified EEAS documents.
As part of the merger, the intelligence gathering services in the Commission and Council will be merged. These services are the Council's "Joint Situation Centre (SitCen) and Watch-Keeping Capability and the Commission's Crisis Room. The Situation Centre has 110 staff and has a cell of "intelligence analysts from member states who pool classified information to produce concise reports on important topics. It also runs a 24/7 alert desk based on public sources which then updates EU diplomats via SMS on current events. The Watch-Keeping Capability is composed of 12 police and military officers who gather news from the EU's overseas missions.
The Commission's Crisis Room is run by six commission officials who run a restricted website reporting breaking news on the 118 active conflicts in the world based on open sources and news from EU embassies. It uses scientific tools including statistical analysis and software which scans global TV broadcasts for names and key words. Details on the plans for the new merged intelligence service are still sketchy as of early 2010 but it will not run undercover operations along the lines of national "intelligence agencies despite proposals from Belgium and Austria after the "2004 Madrid train bombings.
The Situation Centre and Crisis Room would be merged and headed by the "HR. It would be located near the HR's office headed by a director-general with a staff of around 160 people and a budget of 10 to 20 million euro a year. It would have IT experts, scientists, tacticians and seconded intelligence operatives. It would send people into crisis zones to gather information and have 24/7 hotlines to EU delegations around the world. It would give the HR an immediate and powerful asset in an emergency without having to go via the Council's Political and Security committee first. However it is unclear if the Council's "Clearing House (or Working Group CP 931 which deals with the EU's terrorism blacklist) would be merged into the EEAS along with these other bodies.
Meanwhile, Ashton appointed a Polish security operative to head a working group designing the security architecture of the EEAS; particularly the physical security of the EEAS building and its communication network with its embassies. It is seen as particularly important due to the EEAS handling sensitive, as discussed above, amid espionage concerns from China and Russia.
In September 2010, job adverts went out to EU institutions and national embassies for three junior posts at the EEAS. One for foreign deployment, one for a multi-lingual internet researcher and one to follow up on open and confidential information sources. The adverts expressed more about the future department's work, in particular at the new director would be expected to travel to global hotspots. The director of the Joint Situation Centre was appointed in December 2010, Finnish security chief Ilkka Salmi.
The High Representative also has authority over the "European Defence Agency, "EU Institute for Security Studies and the "EU Satellite Centre, though these remain autonomous from the EEAS itself.
The European Commission managed to retain control over its competencies in aid (and its €6 billion a year budget), development, energy and enlargement. This gives the relevant Commissioners the lead in those areas and deputise for the "HR when necessary. Although the service will have cells for the Commission's areas, decisions will have to be made jointly by the HR and the "College of Commissioners.
However Ashton's draft plan for the EEAS included proposals for the EEAS to take responsibility for Neighbourhood Policy (currently assigned to the Enlargement Commissioner) and international development at least. Under a compromise with the Commission, it was agreed development would be split, with the EEAS taking on three of the five planning cycles from the Commission. How this division of labour will work in practice only began being tested in 2012 as the 2014–2020 programming exercise began.
The following Directorates-General (DGs) and Commissioners are not being merged and decisions in these areas require approval from the college of Commissioners:
The EEAS is based in the "Triangle building (also known as the Capital, or Axa building) on "Schuman roundabout in the heart of "Brussels' EU Quarter. The building is leased at €12 million-a-year. Prior to moving in, future EEAS staff were located in eight separate buildings at a cost of €25 million each year. The EEAS lease most of the building, with Commission departments filling the remaining space. The "European Personnel Selection Office (Epso) was already occupying part of the building since July 2010.
It was originally expected that the EEAS would take over the Commission's "Charlemagne building on the "Rue de la Loi which housed the now defunct "Directorate-General for External Relations (RELEX). However that building was thought to be too small, would be too closely associated with RELEX (going against the image of the EEAS as a unique independent institution) and would take too long to overhaul. It was also proposed that the EEAS take over the "Lex building. Due to cost and security considerations, Ashton had preferred to take over the Lex building which could be rented from the Council at a lower rate and already has a higher security rating with underground tunnels to the main Commission and Council buildings. However, in order to take over the building, the council staff would have to be willing to leave and the Council's budget increased so they could find new accommodation. Due to the staff in Lex unwilling to move, the triangle building was chosen by Ashton in October 2010.
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