Informal Groupings in EU Foreign Policy: A Sustainable Arrangement?

Författare: Amadio Viceré Maria Giulia

The Lisbon Treaty aimed at a deeper integration of member states’ foreign policies at the EU level. Yet, EU external action is often steered by informal groupings of member states. Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré (EUI) describes these practices and assesses the implications through two criteria: effectiveness and accountability. (2021:2epa)

The Lisbon Treaty sought to bring member states’ foreign policies together at the EU level, particularly through the new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission (HR/VP), as well as through the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

Yet, in the last decade, informal groups of member states steered EU foreign policy post-Lisbon on several occasions, and the EU’s foreign policy practices have grown increasingly complex.

To contribute to the understanding of such dynamics, this European policy analysis by Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré offers an overview of informal groupings in EU foreign policy post-Lisbon, with special consideration to Europe’s eastern and southern neighbourhood. This overview of a largely uncharted territory is followed by an assessment based on the two criteria of effectiveness and accountability.

Despite positive implications, the author argues, these distinctive patterns of interaction reflect the fragmentation of and the urgent need to reform EU foreign policy governance.


Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre, European University Institute (EUI).