European Council on Foreign Relations

EU Strategic Partnerships: Shallow political summits, active technical dialogues?

This paper provides a global picture of the structured dialogues that underpin the ten strategic partnerships of the EU. It goes, for each partner, into the details of the bilateral relation, disclosing the list of technical meetings that take place on a regular basis between the European External Action Service (EEAS) or the Commission Directorates, and each individual partner. These official meetings have been established over time.

Individual snapshots are provided for in annex, disclosing the “internal structure” of the ten strategic partnerships. They show, for each partner, how many of these technical dialogues are at work behind the scene, and on what specific issues.

From agriculture to human rights to customs or intellectual property rights, the list of dialogues reveals large differences in quantity, frequency, and quality between the partners.

After presenting the

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Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: View from Ireland

Phil Hogan, who has been appointed to the agriculture portfolio, is a former Irish minister for Environment and Local Government. He has a reputation in Ireland as a clever political strategist and campaigner who was fiercely loyal to his party leader, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny. While the 54 year old Hogan represented a rural constituency, he has never held an agricultural portfolio.

Agriculture and food exports play a significant role in Ireland’s economic recovery and Enda Kenny had strenuously lobbied Jean-Claude Juncker for the portfolio. Mr. Hogan’s appointment had been widely expected in Dublin where one government minister said it was a recognition of the role Ireland’s EU presidency played in securing a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) agreement last year.

With a total budget for 2014 to 2020 of more than 360 billion euro, agriculture represents more

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Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: Spain’s Commissioner

This is a part of a translation of an article first published by Contexte.

Juncker Entrusts Energy and Climate to Spanish Conservative

The former Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Canete is an expert on European politics. His close ties to the oil industry have earned him the scorn of ecologists, who do not deem him progressive enough. The Spanish government, however, is satisfied with his portfolio. The former Agriculture Minister under the Rajoy administration will be in charge of energy and climate. Spanish conservatives are obviously delighted by the news. The decision was announced on the 10th of September by the president elect of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, and must still be approved by the European Parliament. The candidates will be evaluated by the European Parliament on the 29th of September.

A choice criticized by ecologists

The decision has

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Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: View from Italy

Juncker’s new Commission has been well received. Italy is happy to see the independent-minded Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva was named Vice President and Commissioner Budget and Human Resources. There is a bit of concern over Finland's former Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, who can be firmly placed within the austerity camp, being nominated Vice President and the Commissioner in charge of jobs, growth investment and competitiveness. 

But most media attention is centred on another Vice President, Federica Mogherini, the 41-year-old Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, who was appointed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and will lead the EU’s foreign policy for the next five years. In Juncker’s new cluster model she will also supervise and guide the work of four other commissioners: the Directorates-General of Development, Humanitarian Aid,

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Dissecting Juncker’s Commission: View from Germany

Throughout the European reform debate of the past decade, there has been a mainstream political consensus in Germany in favour of the European Commission assuming the role of government in the European Union’s political system. This accounts for Germany’s willingness to give up its second commissioner as a consequence of enlargement. It also influenced Germany to lend some support to the French initiative, launched in the European Convention phase of reform, of significantly reducing the number of commissioners. Berlin did not give it its full backing to the idea because of the explicit concerns of smaller member states. Rather, the German government made it known that Berlin could live with seeing no German commissioner serving in Brussels.

Berlin supported the Lisbon Treaty’s compromise on the number of commissioners, as well as the decision not to apply its provisions in light

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