European Security and Defence Policy: The First Ten Years by Giovanni Grevi, Damien Helly and Daniel Keohane

By Giovanni Grevi, Damien Helly and Daniel Keohane

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The Hampton Court agenda envisaged other innovations for ESDP decision-making within the Council Secretariat, namely the creation of a Crisis Management Board and of new formats charged with drafting the crisis management concept (policy group) and with devising military, civilian or civilian-military strategic options (planning group). The common denominator of these proposals was not to create new structures but to ensure that all relevant bodies acted coherently within the Secretariat at different stages in the crisis management process.

The role of RELEX Counsellors is discreet but essential, in so far as they oil the ESDP machinery with specific advice on the institutional, financial and legal profiles of ESDP decision-making. 16 The additional workload persuaded national representatives to create a new body – the CFSP Counsellors – tasked with examining horizontal issues with legal or financial implications and coordinating the agendas of COREPER and the Political Committee, then in charge of CFSP. Following the launch of ESDP and the creation of the PSC, the group changed name to Foreign Relations (RELEX) Counsellors.

Following the appointment of the SG/HR in 1999, a new CFSP Directorate was set up within DG RELEX and has since steadily expanded into the sizeable Directorate A, about 70 officials strong, headed by the Commission representative to the PSC and responsible for coordinating the Commission’s input to CFSP. The Directorate includes four units, whose respective remit somewhat mirrors the division of tasks between CFSP/ESDP structures. The unit of the European Correspondent, named after the correspondents responsible for the CFSP dossier in national foreign ministries, is tasked with the overall procedural coordination of the Commission’s activities in the area of external relations and CFSP.

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