The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed in 2007 and entered into force in late 2009, established the European External Action Service. The Treaty also laid out the way the Service would be created:
The organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service shall be established by a decision of the Council. The Council shall act on a proposal from the High Representative after consulting the European Parliament and after obtaining the consent of the Commission.
These steps were taken in 2010:
On 25 March 2010 the High Representative sent the Council a proposal on the establishment of the EEAS. The proposal, which followed long negotiations and discussions with the various services concerned, included detailed descriptions of how the Service would be composed, how its staff would be chosen and treated, and how the Member States and other European institutions would be involved. The importance of the EEAS was also clear:
It will help strengthen the European Union on the global stage, give it more profile, and enable it to project its interests and values more efficiently.
On 8 July 2010 the European Parliament passed a resolution approving the proposal. The Parliament added comments to resolution; these touched on issues including appointing staff, financing the foreign delegations and resolving potential disputes. The resolution was passed by a large majority: 549 for, 78 against.
On 26 July 2010 the Council of the European Union adopted a decision that confirmed the proposal of the High Representative, with the European Parliament's amendments. The decision was effective immediately. The EEAS was officially launched on 1 January 2011.
The EEAS regularly reports on its activities. The Service does this through annual activity reports, reports on the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, reports on Common Security and Defence Policy and reports on human rights. The EEAS also contributes to the annual General Report of the EU.