Foreign Affairs Council meets in Brussels
Ms. Catherine Ashton,
High Representative of the EU
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
© European Union
At the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 31 January, the focus was on the EU's southern neighbourhood. Other topics included the foreign policy priorities during president Obama's second term in office, the situation in Mali and Somalia as well as proposed steps towards an EU policy in the Arctic.
During the first part of the meeting, ministers debated the Arab Spring, the latest developments in Syria and in Egypt.
On Mali, they adopted conclusions after having been briefed on the situation and the state of play concerning the EU training mission (EUTM).
Conclusions were also adopted on Somalia. Ministers committed the EU to supporting the country's transition in line with the new government's vision and priorities and endorsed a counter-terrorism action plan for the region. Over lunch, they met with Somalia's president, Mr Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
During the afternoon session, the Council exchanged views on the foreign policy priorities in relation to the new US administration. It also considered a future EU policy in the Arctic and reaffirmed its support for an EU application to be admitted to the Arctic Council as an observer.