The EU’s joint foreign and security policy, designed to resolve conflicts and foster international understanding, is based on diplomacy and respect for international rules. Trade, humanitarian aid, and development cooperation also play an important role in the EU's international role.
EU foreign and security policy seeks to:
The EU maintains partnerships with the world's key players, including emerging powers and regional groups. It seeks to ensure that these relationships are based on mutual interests and benefits.
The EU has no standing army, so relies on ad hoc forces contributed by EU countries. The EU can send missions to the world’s trouble spots; to monitor and preserve law and order, participate in peacekeeping efforts or provide humanitarian aid to affected populations.
The External action service (EEAS) acts as the EU's diplomatic service. A network of over 140 delegations and offices around the world promotes and protects the EU’s values and interests.
In foreign policy, the EU's ultimate decision-making body is the European Council, which comprises EU country heads of state and governments. Most foreign and security policy decisions require the agreement of all EU countries.