The EU (or rather, the EEC) started out as a way for countries to cooperate, and of course it was run by foreign ministers.
Over time, other ministers have got more and more involved, but the foreign ministers have remained very powerful.
However, Lisbon has abolished that, and the efficient Swedish presidency are now shutting out the foreign ministers:
Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt on Thursday (10 December) dismissed criticism from some of his EU counterparts for implementing a Lisbon Treaty novelty that sees foreign ministers excluded from EU summits. […]
But Mr Bildt defended his actions: “The Lisbon Treaty is in place since 1 December and until 31 December I will be very fundamentalist in implementing it.”
He explained that since the treaty came into force, relations between member states are no longer considered “foreign policy” but are now “domestic policy” and so EU leaders no longer need their top diplomats beside them.
I think this is a positive development, but it’s not going to be very popular in the foreign ministries!