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Since late 2014, Italy's Federica Mogherini has been the EU's High Representative/Vice President. As the EU's chief diplomat she is charged with shaping and carrying out the EU's foreign and security policy – known as the "Common Foreign and Security Policy'" (CFSP) and the 'Common Security and Defence Policy' (CSDP). Read more about the daily work of Federica Mogherini.
Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the High Representative is also Vice-President of the European Commission. This allows her to coordinate and ensure coherence in EU foreign policy as the European Commission has important international responsibilities such as trade, development, neighbourhood policy and humanitarian aid.
The combination of these roles is to ensure the consistency and coherence of EU activities in the world and ensure they do not conflict or overlap.
They head the EU's diplomatic corps, the European External Action Service .
What does the High Representative/Vice-President do?
The role is wide-ranging. It involves:
Who appoints the High Representative/ Vice-President?
The role of 'High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy' was created by the Treaty of Amsterdam, which entered into force in 1999. A decade later, the Treaty of Lisbon expanded the role, adding significant new responsibilities. Called from that point onwards the 'High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy', the post was also extended to include the role of Vice-President of the Commission.
On the same day that the Treaty of Lisbon took effect – 1 December 2009 – the expanded position of High Representative/Vice-President was officially inaugurated and the first person to hold the position – Catherine Ashton – started her mandate.
Former High Representatives
2009-2014: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission
The role was created under the Lisbon Treaty and the UK's Catherine Ashton was the first HR/VP to be appointed under the new Treaty.
1999-2009: High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union.
The role was created under the Treaty of Amsterdam and Spain's Javier Solana was appointed to this post by the European Council.