High Representative

Javier Solana is the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (Photo: Western European Union)

High Representative

A high representative is normally someone appointed to represent an organisation abroad.

The Foreign Minister of the European Union is formally aclled the High Representative. The post was given to the Italian foreign minister Federica Mhogerini from 1 November 2014.

The former Spanish Foreign Minister and former Secretary General of NATOJavier Solana, was the Secretary General for the Council and at the same time High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

As High Representative he had to assist the Council in Common Foreign and Security Policy. Solana often travelled with the President in office or his foreign minister to negotiate on issues such as peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The EU Constitution proposed that the High Representative post should be abolished.

Instead the EU would have a common "Foreign minister". This post should be appointed by the prime ministers in the European Council by super quailified majority, accepted by the President of the EU Commission and be subject to approval together with the rest of the EU Commission by the European Parliament.

The Lisbon Treaty has kept the post but calls it "High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy" rather than Foreign Minister. All media call Baroness Ashton for the “Foreign minister”.

The Foreign Minister functions as a vice chair of the EU Commission and a chair of the Foreign Affairs Council (double hated function). Javier Solana has already been appointed for this function but had to leave when it was finally introduced by the delayed Lisbon Treaty.

The British long-life peer, Catherine Ashton, former head of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom wans appointed to the job in a special summit in Brussels, 19 December 2009. She was also a Vice President in the Commission. 


See also Foreign minister