Asia Europe Affairs

Besides the appointment of ‘the High Representative’ the Lisbon Treaty provides for the creation of an External Action Service. To work in cooperation with the diplomatic service of Member States it would be comprised of: staff from General Secretariat of the European Council and Commission; and, staff seconded from Member State diplomatic services.

Article 13a states that the organization and functioning of this resource would be established by a decision of the Council. Such decision based on a proposal by the High Representative after consulting Parliament and with consent of Commission (see page 42).

It is unclear how such a service would best be deployed and how effective it could be. But among the many scenarios that seem plausible are: (a) expansion of resource in countries where present EU Member State diplomatic presence is light in number; (b) provision of resource within existing Member State mission tasked to serve needs of unrepresented Member States; and, (c) strengthened economic intelligence gathering to better inform European decision making.

And while some way off we thought it would be instructive to see how EU Member States are represented in Asia. After inputing the various mission details (Embassy, High Commission, and, Consulates) into a database we find there are 751 missions represented for the 27 EU Member States in 48 countries or territories (Hong Kong and Macao considered part of China) in Asia.

Most were in China (79) followed by India (44), and, Japan (31). Turkey had 52 missions and is an EU candidate country. Least representations were found in Timor (1) and the central Asia states of Kyrgystan (2) and Tajikistan (3). Charts and a table highlighting these trends can be found at the following link.

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