The establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS) by the Lisbon Treaty was preceded by time-consuming negotiations about the composition, organization, budget and accountability of the service. In spite of the negative views among EEAS officials concerning the actual implementation of the reforms, they displayed a surprisingly positive attitude towards the new organization and identified strongly with it. This contribution aims to explain this empirical puzzle by drawing on two different approaches to attitude formation: one based on material calculations and another one on socio-psychological factors. It shows that a narrow understanding of rationality based on short-term career-related calculations cannot account for the support that the EEAS garnered among its ranks since a majority of officials reported a negative impact in terms of careers prospects. An explanation of positive attitudes towards the EEAS thus needs to take into account a broader conception of career prospects', including other indicators such as reputation and job satisfaction. Moreover, this contribution shows how a strong identification with the European Union (EU) and a desire to make EU foreign policy work might also explain why officials profess strong support for the EEAS.
- European External Action Service
- European foreign policy
- international civil servants
- organizational reform