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The emergence and transformation of "foreign ministries" as a matter of role location

Johannes P. Weber
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Johannes P. Weber
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Open Panel

Abstract

In December 2010 the European Union launched its External Action Service. This new “foreign ministry” and “diplomatic body” of the Union was officially created to assist the High Representative in its function to “conduct political dialogue with third parties” and to “express the Union''s position in international organisations and at international conferences.“ But beyond the function of this new institution as a tool of communication, following the logic of practicability, its creation can also be seen as an act, which constitutes the Union as an “independent” foreign policy actor and a matter of role location on the world stage. In this reading the internal organization of the European External Action Service is a manifestation of its notion of an international order and the Unions role within that order. In this paper I’ll try to conceptualize this relationship between the emergence and transformation of “foreign ministries” and the constitution of actors and their role location in a historical perspective. Based on a role theoretical model I want to analyze the creation and internal structure of “foreign ministries” in an area of tension between internal demands and external expectations. In doing so I also want get new insides about the relation between the institutionalization of diplomatic practices and the constitution of foreign policy actors.