22/10/2013 - Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
Foreign Affairs Council assesses progress towards an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
At the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 21 October 2013, ministers looked at the progress made towards the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and discussed the latest developments in the Syrian crisis.
Ministers took stock of developments in the Eastern Partnership. In particular, they discussed Ukraine's progress towards the possible signature of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Discussions were based on the latest report by the monitoring mission to Ukraine and highlighted a number of key areas still needing determined action.
The issue will be revisited in the next FAC meeting on 18 November, in preparation for the 3rd Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on 28-29 November.
The Council also held a discussion and adopted conclusions on the crisis in Syria. Ministers underlined the EU's continuing concern over the deteriorating situation in Syria, and gave their full support to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's call for a peace conference in Geneva before the end of November.
The Council's conclusions also reiterate the EU's condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and reaffirm its commitment as the largest donor providing both humanitarian and non-humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
The Eastern Partnership
In addition to the 28 EU member states, six countries participate in the Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The Eastern Partnership aims to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the EU and participating countries, helping to support democratic and market-oriented reform and contribute to their political and economic stability.
Eastern Partnership Summits are held every two years. The Vilnius summit on 28-29 November will be the 3rd summit.
Meetings discuss the implementation and the accomplishments of the Eastern Partnership, and determine objectives for the next two years.
Other topics on the agenda
The Council also discussed recent events in Libya and took stock of the situation in Egypt, following the High Representative's recent visit to Cairo and the Court of Auditors report on EU cooperation with Egypt, published in June.
Over lunch, ministers met with Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, to discuss the ongoing reform process in Myanmar/Burma.
Conclusions were also adopted without discussion on:
- the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
- the situation in the Central African Republic;
- Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the EU military operation EUFOR Althea.