The European Commissioner for External Relations was a member of the European Commission with responsibility over the Commissions external representation in the world and the European Union's (EU) Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The responsibility was shared though between other Commission posts (see below) and the High Representative.

The first Commissioner to hold the post was Jean Rey in 1958, who later became Commission President. The last Commissioner was Benita Ferrero-Waldner who served from 2004 to 2009 in the first Barroso Commission.

As a result of the Treaty of Lisbon, on 1 December 2009, merged the positions of Commissioner and High Representative into a composite entity called the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

List of commissioners

The post has been under various names (External Relations/External Affairs) and often combined with Trade or other portfolios. In the Barroso I Commission it was combined with the European Neighbourhood Policy portfolio, hence its name under that administration. Ferrero-Waldner was also the last Commissioner for External Relations as the post was taken over by the High Representative Catherine Ashton from 1 December 2009.[1]

Commissioner State National party Commission Term
Jean Rey Belgium Liberal Reformist Party Hallstein Commission I 1958 1962
Hallstein Commission II 1962 1967
Edoardo Martino Italy Christian Democracy Rey Commission 1967 1970
Jean-François Deniau France Union for French Democracy Malfatti Commission 1970 1972
Mansholt Commission 1972 1973
Christopher Soames United Kingdom Conservative Party Ortoli Commission 1973 1977
Wilhelm Haferkamp West Germany Social Democratic Party Jenkins Commission 1977 1981
Thorn Commission 1981 1985
Willy De Clercq Belgium Flemish Liberals and Democrats Delors Commission I 1985 1989
Frans Andriessen Netherlands Christian Democratic Appeal Delors Commission II 1989 1993
Hans van den Broek Netherlands Christian Democratic Appeal Delors Commission III 1993 1995
Leon Brittan United Kingdom Conservative Party Santer Commission 1995 1999
Chris Patten United Kingdom Conservative Party Prodi Commission 1999 2004
Benita Ferrero-Waldner Austria Austrian People's Party Barroso Commission I 2004 2009

As a result of the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Commissioner position was merged with that of the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy to become the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. However Ferrero-Waldner maintained control over the European Neighbourhood Policy and EuropeAid Co-operation Office (which are not part of the new High Representative's mandate).[2]

Since the establishment of the High Representative, there are now only the following Commissioners dealing with international affairs;

Related posts

The external relations policy of the Barroso Commission is based on three key basic propositions on the EU's role in the world. The EU is a global player; it pursues a specific foreign policy philosophy which one could term "effective multilateralism"; and, thanks to its specific nature, the EU disposes of a wide range of foreign policy instruments which are particularly suited to respond to today's challenges. In his first Commission, President Barroso established a Group of Commissioners, chaired by him, and in charge of six external relations services. Prior to its abolition, there were four external relations posts;

See also


  1. ^ Between 1 December 2009 and the entry into office of the Barroso II Commission, Ashton (who sits in the Barroso I Commission) will take on the portfolio by swapping with Ferrero-Waldner. Ferrero-Waldner will take over Ashton's trade portfolio. The High Representative will formally take over, and become a Vice President, after Parliament approves the new Commission.
  2. ^ Benita Ferrero-Waldner, 3 December 2009
    "On Thursday, 26 November President Barroso confirmed to the President of the European Parliament his decision to appoint Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner to take over the trade policy portfolio with effect from 1 December 2009. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner will serve as Commissioner for Trade until the beginning of the mandate of the next Commission. During this period she will continue to be responsible for the European Neighbourhood Policy and for the operations of EuropeAid – Cooperation Office (Aidco)."