Member States and the EU’s representation abroad

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In 2008, France and Slovenia have both presided over the European Union Council. They have thus represented this political organisation on the international stage on numerous occasions: declarations issued in the field of foreign policy or negotiations with third party countries. The EU’s revolving presidency entails, among other functions, being a flagship for Europe beyond its borders. Yet, the presidency is not the only one to play that part. Indeed, the EU’s representation abroad is notable for its shared quality. Three figures are currently performing it: the Commission, The ECSP High Representative and the Council presidency, which is the only national element. In other words, thus State representation within the triad embodies the embryonic multilateralisation of European diplomacy. Through the study of the case of local consular cooperation, this article analyses the EU’s foreign representation system, while emphasizing its multimodal character and the resulting difficulties concerning the construction of a converging diplomatic (administrative and political) environment.