Foreign Affairs Council, 15/05/2017

Council of the EU

Main results

Africa     

The focus of today was on Africa. Our relation is moving from a traditional aid approach to a real partnership in all fields, from climate change to security, economic development, migration and humanitarian support. These discussions will help us prepare the Africa-EU Summit in November, that will be centered on youth and on how to offer opportunities to young people in Europe and in Africa in particular. This is the best way to manage migration. This is also the best way of preventing radicalisation.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Foreign ministers discussed the situation in the Horn of Africa, a region facing destabilisation in particular in Somalia and South Sudan. The discussion focused on the political and security challenges, including the implications of the situation in the wider region. Ministers underlined the strategic importance of EU engagement through a strong political presence and a continued contribution to peace and security, including through the existing CSDP missions and operation. This engagement is in addition to the significant development and humanitarian aid provided by the EU and its member states which continues to be much needed given that 13 million are facing serious hunger and 650 000 are internally displaced in the region. Ministers of development will further discuss the humanitarian situation at their Council meeting on Friday (19 May).

The Council also held a more general debate on Africa-EU relations. Foreign ministers welcomed the joint communication by the High Representative and the Commission for a renewed impetus of the Africa-EU Partnership. The discussion will feed into the preparation of the EU-Africa Summit in November, which will focus on youth. In this context, ministers highlighted the importance of job creation including by ensuring a favourable climate for trade and private investment and of promoting social and political inclusion of youth in Africa. 

Foreign ministers then discussed how to strengthen cooperation with the African Union on the many challenges facing the two continents with Moussa Faki Mahahat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Venezuela

In light of the recent worrying developments in the country, the Council adopted conclusions on Venezuela.

Eastern Partnership

The Council exchanged views on the Eastern Partnership (EaP) ahead of the EaP ministerial meeting to take place on 19 June in Luxembourg and the EaP Summit foreseen on 24 November in Brussels.

Ministers reiterated the crucial importance of the Eastern Partnership for the European Union. They highlighted their unity in supporting the region and each of the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) in a tailored way. They also stressed their determination to deliver concrete results for the benefits of citizens, both in the EU and in the Eastern Partnership countries.  In this context, they welcomed progress on visa liberalisation for Georgia and Ukraine and underlined the importance of the implementation of Association Agreements /  Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (AA/DCFTAs) and of reforms.

Security and defence

Foreign ministers had a discussion on the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in the area of security and defence. They took stock of progress, in particular in view of the discussion at the Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) on 18 May, which is expected to adopt conclusions on progress in implementing the Global Strategy in the area of security and defence.

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