EU Special Representatives (EUSRs)


A voice and face of the EU in crucial areas 

Currently the European Union has seven Special Representatives in different regions of the world. These representatives were established under Article 18 of the Amsterdam Treaty and they are appointed by the Council. The aim of the EUSRs is to represent the EU in troubled regions and countries and to play an active part in promoting the interests and the policies of the EU. The EUSRs support the work of High Representative Solana in the concerned regions. They are appointed to regions where they are most needed and their mandates reflect accurately the Union's objectives.

EU Special Representatives (EUSRs) play an important role in the development of a stronger and more effective EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). EUSRs provide the EU with a visible and practical presence in critical countries and regions. To a considerable degree they are a “voice” and a “face” of the EU and its policies on the ground. Characteristics of the position are a high degree of availability, creating a considerable momentum of EU impact.  

The first EUSRs deployed have been Aldo Ajello for the Great Lakes Region and Miguel Angel Moratinos for the Middle East Peace Process, both appointed (as EU Special Envoys back then) in 1996. The position of the EUSRs has developed considerably after the appointment of Javier Solana as High Representative for CFSP. Seven EUSRs are currently in place including the recently created EUSR to Moldova. The nomination of an EUSR for Central Asia is imminent. A mandate for an EUSR for Sudan is in the drafting phase and the need for additional EUSRs might arise in the near future. Three of the current EUSRs are resident in their country/region of activity, while the four others are working on a travelling basis.

An EUSR is appointed by Council through the legal act of a Joint Action. The substance of a mandate depends on the political context of the deployment of an EUSR: Some EUSRs provide i.a. a political backing to an ESDP operation, others focus on carrying out or contribute to developing an EU policy. All EUSRs carry out their duties under the authority and operational direction of the High Representative. An EUSR is financed out of the CFSP budget implemented by the Commission. Member states contribute regularly e.g. through seconding some of the EUSR’s staff members.

The EUSRs play a crucial role in the EU’s aim to become a more active, a more coherent and a more capable actor. Challenges are growing and the world increasingly looks at the EU as a global political actor. The EUSRs are a way to give the global efforts of the EU a face and to ensure the coherence of its policies.