The conflict in Darfur in western Sudan between government forces and two rebel movements has killed tens of thousands and driven more than 2 million people from their homes into refugee camps inside Sudan and in neighbouring Chad.
The EU, with NATO, is assisting the African Union in areas such as support for police, airlift, logistics and training, but has now decided it needs a full-time special representative on the ground to coordinate the work.
"We are finalising the preparatory and internal work to be able to appoint an EU Special Representative for Sudan with a team of military advisers," said Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
There are several candidates under consideration. One is Sten Rylander, currently seconded by the EU to the African Union team negotiating between the Sudanese government and rebels at the Abuja talks, the Swedish foreign ministry said.
The EU has appointed special representatives to eight trouble spots including the Middle East, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Afghanistan, and will shortly name another, to former Soviet Central Asia.