The European Parliament on Thursday approved a legal blueprint for the formation of the European External Action Service.

Members of the European Parliament approved a package of recommendations concerning the proposed diplomatic body and working methods of the service, a major new development introduced in the Lisbon Treaty.

The measure passed 549-78 with 17 abstentions.

Members of the European Parliament negotiated substantial changes to the original plans put forward in March by Catherine Ashton, the EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The new diplomatic service was expected to begin December 1. It will help the high representative conduct the EU's foreign policy and ensure that its external policy is consistent.

The European Commission will now have to give its final consent before the European Council adopts the decision later this month. — Xinhua