'In the face of adversity': Explaining the attitudes of EEAS officials vis-a-vis the new service

A. Juncos*, K. Pomorska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1349
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Attitudes
  • European External Action Service
  • European foreign policy
  • international civil servants
  • organizational reform

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