The Directorate Generals (DGs) most relevant to external relations are:

  • Development and Humanitarian Aid
  • Enlargement
  • External Relations
  • External Trade

Pascal Lamy, the EU Commissioner for External Trade (Source: Politico)

The European Union has six major external relations services. Four Commissioners are in charge of these services, which are all Directorates General.

Directorates Generals (DGs) are the administrative units within the European Commission, similar to Canada’s national ministries. Each DG focuses on a specific area of policy.

A Commissioner | FR is responsible for each of the DGs.

Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement (Source: EurActiv)

Fill in the chart below with the your findings:

  • Name of the Commissioner in charge of each DG
  • Responsibilities of that DG
  • Any additional information that you find of interest

Click HERE for an overview of the European Union in the world. You can also click on the name of each Directorate General to help you with this activity.

Directorate General Commissioner Responsibilities Additional Info
Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection | FR
Enlargement | FR
Foreign Policy | FR
External Trade | FR

The Canadian Angle

See The Ministry and its Responsibilities | FR

Which of Canada’s national ministries do you think are similar to the DGs listed above?

Why does the European Union care about foreign affairs?

To answer this question, we have to go back a bit in history. After the Second World War, European leaders wanted to prevent the horrors of war from happening again. They thought that by encouraging economic cooperation, countries would be less likely to engage in war against each other. The French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, first proposed the idea on 9 May, 1950. From that point on, the concept of European integration began to take hold among the European leaders.

As the European Union grew in number, and as advancement in technology made global communication easier, European leaders realized that in order to promote peace and security, the European Union must set an example for the wider world. This is why the European Union has been trying to strengthen its voice in the world.

See also: The History of the European Union | FR


The European Union in the World/ L’Union européenne dans le monde

Foreign PolicyFR

Development | FR

External Trade | FR

Enlargement | FR


That Romania and Bulgaria, prior to joining the EU in January 2007, received together about 900 million Euros in pre-accession aid?

Now you can go on to the third activity.