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Until recently some states had reservations accepting that EU delegations held the full status of a diplomatic mission.Article 20 of the Maastricht Treaty requires the Delegations and the Member States’ diplomatic missions to "co-operate in ensuring that the common positions and joint actions adopted by the Council are complied with and implemented".
These upgraded delegations have taken on the role previously carried out by the national embassies of the member state holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union and merged with the independent Council delegations around the world.
Through this the EU delegations take on the role of co-ordinating national embassies and speaking for the EU as a whole, not just the Commission.
The first delegation to be upgraded was the one in Washington D.
C., the new joint ambassador was Joao Vale de Almeida who outlined his new powers as speaking for both the Commission and Council presidents, and member states.
Although there has been a large degree of integration between European Union member states, foreign relations is still a largely intergovernmental matter, with the 28 members controlling their own relations to a large degree.
The EU's foreign relations are dealt with either through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, decided by the European Council or the economic trade negotiations handled by the European Commission.
The leading EU diplomat in both areas is the High Representative Federica Mogherini.A limited amount of defence co-operation takes place within the Common Security and Defence Policy.The High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the EU's predecessor, opened its first mission in London in 1955, three years after non-EU countries began to accredit their missions in Brussels to the Community.The US had been a fervent supporter of the ECSC's efforts from the beginning, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson sent Jean Monnet a dispatch in the name of President Truman confirming full US diplomatic recognition of the ECSC.A US ambassador to the ECSC was accredited soon thereafter, and he headed the second overseas mission to establish diplomatic relations with the Community institutions.The number of delegates began to rise in the 1960s following the merging of the executive institutions of the three European Communities into a single Commission.