The new Prodi Commission has undertaken a fundamental restructuring of the European Commission services dealing with external relations. The aim of this restructuring is to reflect the European Commission's growing role in external relations and to make it more effective.
The External Relations Commissioner co-ordinates the external relations activities of the Commission. He is its interface with the EU’s General Affairs Council and its interlocutor with the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The External Relations Commissioner also ensures that the Commission has a clear identity and a coherent approach in its external activities.
The External Relations Directorate General has the following tasks:
- relations with European countries which are not members of the European Union and not part of the enlargement process
- relations with South Eastern Europe, including the reconstruction of Kosovo
- relations with Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asian Republics
- programming Tacis assistance to Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asian Republics
- relations with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, including the EEA-Agreement
- relations with North America, Australia, Japan, Korea
- relations with the Middle East and the South Mediterranean
- relations with Latin America
- relations with Asia, except Japan and Korea
- relations with international organisations, i.e. United Nations, NATO, WEU, OSCE, the Council of Europe
The Commission's participation in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
- Administration of more than 120 Commission delegations in third countries (the External Service)