The EEAS is the European Union's diplomatic service. It helps the EU's foreign affairs chief – the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – carry out the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Formally launched on 1 January 2011, the Service was created by the Treaty of Lisbon, which itself entered into force in 2009.
The External Action Service, as envisioned by the Treaty, brings together expertise from EU and national diplomatic services:
“This service shall work in cooperation with the diplomatic services of the Member States and shall comprise officials from relevant departments of the General Secretariat of the Council and of the Commission as well as staff seconded from national diplomatic services of the Member States.”