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1. The establishment of diplomatic relations and permanent diplomatic missions.


Diplomatic relations between states may be established by friendly contacts of any form between their governments: but permanent diplomatic relations are considered to exist only with the establish­ment of a diplomatic mission, or preferably with the exchange of diplomatic missions. These are established by mutual consent and on the basis of a mutual understanding of the functions that will be undertaken by the mission. These functions have become generally accepted over past centuries, and have been defined in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as consisting basically of:

  1. representing the sending state in the receiving state;

  1. protecting in the receiving state the interests of the sending state and its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law;

  1. negotiating with the government of the receiving state;

  2. ascertaining, by all lawful means, conditions and developments in the receiving state, and reporting thereon to the government of the sending state;

  3. promoting friendly relations between the sending state and the receiving state, and developing their economic cultural and scientific relations.

Apart from their diplomatic functions, members of the diplomatic staff of a mission may also act in a consular capacity.


Heads of mission may be of one of three classes depending on the mutual agreement of the governments concerned:

  1. Ambassadors, Apostolic Nuncios or Pro-Nuncios, and other heads of mission of equivalent rank (e.g. High Commissioners exchanged between Commonwealth countries) who are accredited to Heads of State.

  2. Envoys. Ministers and Papal Internuncios who are accredited to Heads of State. (This class is now virtually non-existent).

  3. Charges d'Affaires {en litre, en pied, or titular) who are accred­ited to Ministers for Foreign Affairs.

No differentiation may be made between heads of mission on account of their class, except in matters of precedence and protocol and in that the light of access to a Head of State is normally reserved to those of ambassadorial rank.

2. The major objectives/aims of the EU

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states, located primarily in Europe. Committed to regional integration, the EU was established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993 upon the foundations of the European Communities.

These are the five big things the EU has set out to do.

1. Promote economic and social progress. Help people earn enough money and get treated fairly.

2. Speak for the European Union on the international scene. By working as a group the EU hopes that Europe will be listened to more by other countries.

3. Introduce European citizenship. Anyone from a member state is a citizen of the EU and gets four special rights.

4. Develop Europe as an area of freedom, security and justice. Help Europeans to live in safety, without the threat of war.

5. Maintain and build on established EU law. Make laws that protect peoples rights in the member countries.

The Union’s objectives can be read in the Lisbon Treaty Art. It include:

  • the promotion of peace and the well-being of the Union´s citizens

  • an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers

  • sustainable development based on balanced economic growth and social justice

  • a social market economy - highly competitive and aiming at full employment and social progress

  • a free single market

The Union shall also combat social exclusion and discrimination and promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and the protection of childrens' rights.

3. Appointment, arrival and departure of diplomatic staff

Although it is only the appointment of heads of mission and fre­quently that of Military, Naval or Air Attaches that require the formal approval of the host state in advance, all other appointments of diplomatic staff must be notified to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the earliest opportunity.

The head of a mission should, advise the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs well in advance of the date, place and time of the intended arrival or final departure of any member of the staff of the mission or of their families.

On arrival at his post to take up his duties, a head of mission will be met by the Chief of Protocol. He immediately informs the Minister for Foreign Affairs (as well as informing his own Minister) that he has arrived, and requests an appointment so that he may call on him and, according to the practice in a number of countries, present him with a copy of his credentials.

Shortly before a head of mission relinquishes his post he sends a note announcing his recall to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and asks for an audience with the Head of State. This farewell audience is a private one and the departing head of mission may take the opportunity of presenting his letter of recall. It is the normal practice nowadays, however, to combine an outgoing head of mission's letter of recall with his successor's letter of credence.

4. Knowledge skills and functions of a diplomat

The diplomat needs to acquire all the normal attributes of his compatriots who are successful businessmen, administrators or civil servants, but he is a specialist in that he needs an added dimension: he must understand other countries, other cultures and other soci­eties, and know what makes them tick. He must like people, and be genuinely interested in them.

He needs special knowledge, skills and qualities, which may be summarised as follows:


A knowledge and understanding of his own country: its geography, history and culture, its political, social, economic and demographic structure and institutions, its human and economic resources -agriculture, industry, finance - in short the determinants of its foreign policy priorities.

A similar knowledge and understanding of other states and regions, priority being given to his neighbours, his region and super-states.

A knowledge of the mechanism and procedures of international intercourse. This involves a knowledge of the worldwide network of diplomatic missions and consular posts, their functions, their practice and structure; the worldwide network of private and state trading and financial establishments and how they operate; and the existing inter-governmental institutions, global and regional, for international political, social and economic cooperation; also the code of public international law which establishes rules of behaviour between states and the laws regulating international institutions. Not least, he should have an understanding of the social and political consequences of the current 'Media Revolution'.


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