The powers of new EU president, foreign minister

AP News
Posted: Nov 18, 2009 11:20 AM

At their summit in Brussels on Thursday, EU leaders aim to agree on who will fill two new top posts created in the 27-nation bloc's new reform treaty which enters into force Dec. 1. Here are the job descriptions:


Formally named the "president of the European Council," a new full-time president is elected by EU leaders for a 2.5 year term but can only serve a maximum of two terms.

The aim of the job is to give Europe a more recognizable personality to represent its views on the world stage and streamline how the bloc's most senior decision making body, the EU's council of government leaders, make decisions and coordinates national policies.

But the EU's new treaty is vague on the job's powers _ which comes with over some euro300,000 ($450,000) in pay and allowances _ saying only that the president will chair leader summits and must "facilitate cohesion and consensus" among EU nations and help represent the EU abroad. Much will be left up to the first person picked how he or she will shape the post, which is supposed to replace the current system of rotating the presidency among member states every six months.


The EU already has a foreign policy chief, a post created a decade ago, but under new rules, the 5-year position will be given more powers and will chair and set agenda's for EU foreign ministers' meetings. The job will coordinate policy positions and have an increased say over how the bloc spends its annual euro7 billion ($10.5 billion) foreign aid budget. The post, similar to that of a national foreign minister, has been merged with the EU's commissioner for external relations. As such the new super-post will sit as a vice-president on the EU's executive commission and head a 5,000-strong "European External Action Service" diplomatic corps, as well as some 130 "Union delegation" missions around the world.