The following information
is published as Open Sources, it does not constitute any
endorsement from ISRIA. If titles are sometimes modified for better
understanding, the contents are reproduced as delivered by the official
institution that first published it. To know the origin,
click on 'view original source' at the end of the page.
Share / Bookmark this Article
Ministers discussed Foreign Affairs in Brussels, mostly Japan
UK Minister for Europe David Lidington updated Parliament on
the outcomes of the General Affairs and Foreign Affairs meetings
in Brussels on Monday. In a written statement to Parliament the
Minister for Europe said: "The Foreign Affairs Council and
General Affairs Council were held on 21 March in Brussels. I
Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
The FAC was chaired by Baroness
Ashton. A provisional report of the meeting, and all Conclusions
adopted, can be found on
the Consilium website. The agenda items covered were as follows:
Ministers reviewed the EU’s response to the crisis in Japan. Commissioners Georgieva
(International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response) and Piebalgs
(Development) briefed Ministers on the public health situation and the requirement
for humanitarian assistance. A key focus for current EU efforts would probably
be temporary housing. (See also record of GAC discussion.)
Ministers agreed conclusions which:
- Called on Qadhafi to relinquish power immediately;
satisfaction with the adoption of UNSCR 1973;
- Agreed further
restrictive measures against the Libyan regime and agreed to
work up further measures on the basis of UNSCR
- Committed to support action provided under UNSCR 1973 – noting
that the EU would continue to provide humanitarian assistance
to those affected;
- Called for the High Representative to develop
planning for assistance for humanitarian assistance in close
with the UN and NATO.
During discussions, I set out how military
action under UNSCR 1973 had helped avoid a catastrophe in Benghazi.
had been broad based;
together of Western and regional actors.
Libya was also was also discussed in the GAC in the context of the text
of European Council Conclusions which will be presented to the European
March – see below.
Developments in the Southern Neighbourhood
Ministers agreed Conclusions on both Bahrain and Yemen (see link above) expressing
concern with the situation in both countries. In both cases, the Council urged
all concerned - including the respective governments - to engage in constructive
dialogue. They expressed concern about reports of the arrest of opposition
figures in Bahrain. And stressed the need for the authorities in Yemen to ensure
for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
On EU assistance to the region, I stressed the need for conditionality, or,
what others termed ‘mutual accountability’: a lot of money had been spent
to limited effect in terms of economic development or political reform. The
Policy (ENP) needed ambitious re-shaping to focus on supporting states pursuing
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
Ministers agreed Conclusions (see link) that endorsed the External Action Service’s (EAS) proposals for a reconfigured EU presence in BiH. The Conclusions raised concerns about the political situation in BiH and called on BiH leaders to form governments which can address the reform agenda. The Conclusions outlined the Council’s
continued support for the Office of the High Representative (OHR), EUFOR (EU
military mission) and EUPM (EU police mission). They also outlined the package
of instruments, including restrictive measures, which would be available to
the new EU representative and looked forward to further discussions on the
of the international presence.
Council Conclusions on a Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel
were adopted. The Strategy’s primary focus will be on Mali, Mauritania and
Niger, but it also builds on complementary activity in the Maghreb. Proposals
the High Representative and Commission on the basis of this strategy will be
considered by Brussels working groups before implementation. Action would be
directed to development, good governance, and internal conflict resolution;
security and rule of law; and countering violent extremism.
Conclusions were agreed which:
- Confirmed the EU’s continuing support for the
Djibouti peace process;
- Stressed the need for the Transitional Federal Institutions
(TFIs) to help advance the peace process;
- Expressed regret over
the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament’s decision
to extend its mandate;
- Agreed that any future EU support to the TFIs,
including stipends for parliamentarians, should be based
on progress on reform;
- Reaffirmed support for the AMISOM peacekeeping
I supported the
Conclusions, stressing the importance of maintaining pressure on the TFIs,
supporting AMISOM and greater EAS engagement in Puntland.
Council Conclusions were adopted (see above link) without discussion on
Iran/human rights. These gave agreement to introduce targeted sanctions
rights violators while at the same time making clear that the EU remains
ready to discuss human rights issues with Iran. Work will now proceed in
Brussels to draw up the sanctions legal act and list of individuals to
Under AOB, France raised recent developments in Côte d’Ivoire. There was
broad agreement that the EU needed to continue to apply its targeted measures
Mr. Gbagbo and those that sustain his illegitimate regime.
On the 18 March, the Foreign Secretary issued a statement:
"I utterly condemn the indiscriminate killing of more than 25 people in Abobo
yesterday by forces loyal to former President Gbagbo. The launching of mortars
into a market place and bus station is abhorrent and the UN should conduct
a full investigation.
I call on all parties in Côte d'Ivoire to cease violence, to seek a peaceful
resolution to the ongoing crisis and for President Ouattara to take his rightful
position in line with the will of the Ivorian people."
General Affairs Council (GAC)
The GAC was chaired by the Presidency, Hungarian Foreign Minister Martonyi.
A provisional report of the meeting can be found on the Consilium website
Preparation for the March European Council
Ministers examined draft Council Conclusions for the European Council to be
held on 24-25 March. The European Council will discuss:
- Economic policy: adoption
of a comprehensive package of measures to strengthen EU economic governance
and ensure the stability of the euro area.
- Developments in Libya and elsewhere
in the EU's southern neighbourhood: follow-up to UNSCR 1973
and latest developments as regards Libya; implementation
agreed by the European Council on 4 February.
- Crisis in Japan: assessment
of the humanitarian aid effort, the situation in the energy
sector and the broader economic implications.
On economic policy, I emphasised the need to focus on economic
growth, building on the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey. The European Council
Conclusions needed to have language promoting smarter regulation, reducing
burden on businesses and SMEs in particular, and improving the internal
market for services. The EU also had to reflect on the importance of trade
EU growth, delivering this through a conclusion to the Doha round this
year and taking forward negotiations on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with
Canada and Singapore.
Libya and the Southern Neighbourhood
Following on from the earlier discussion in the FAC, Ministers focussed
on the detail of proposed short-term measures, including raising the ceiling
of the European Investment Bank (EIB) operations in the region by EUR 1
A number of Member States emphasised the conditions that would need to
accompany any such rise.
I also made a more general call for a set of ambitious European Council
Conclusions, reflecting our offer of a new partnership and a deeper coalition
with the region
in return for greater reform. To that end, we needed to better reflect the
commitment set at the European Council of 11 March – which my Right Honourable
Friend the Prime Minister set out for the House on 14 March.
Ministers briefly took stock of the EU’s response following discussions
in the FAC. They noted that Energy Ministers were meeting separately in
the same day to discuss the nuclear crisis.
On the proposed European Council Conclusions language, I stressed that while
we wanted to ensure the highest safety standards in nuclear plants, we should
remember that there was already much legislation in place and very capable
national authorities were taking action. We should not do anything that undermined
clear responsibility which rested with Member States in this area.
view original source
© Copyright 2011 - ISRIA -
all rights reserved - Established 2004