The European External Action Service

Established in 2010, the European External Action Service (EEAS) – based in Brussels – is the diplomatic service of the EU.

Divided into geographical directorates, including on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), it also includes a thematic directorate on human rights, global and multilateral issues.

To support the work of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP), the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) and its working parties, the EEAS prepares policy positions, drafts agendas ahead of bilateral and multilateral meetings, as well as reports and statements.

In the field

In non-EU countries, the EU delegations are the first point of contact for local NGOs. They represent valuable advocacy targets and play a key role in the development and implementation of EU human rights policies.

Usually divided into a political and an operations section, the EU delegations act on behalf of the EU, conduct political dialogue and issue statements. In each delegation, a focal point on human rights is appointed.

The delegations are expected to consult regularly local NGOs, gathering their inputs ahead of human rights sub-committee meetings and debriefing them afterwards.

The Head of the EU Delegation and Member State Ambassadors, collectively known as the Heads of Mission, meet regularly to coordinate policy.