Dialogue and partnerships with the Eastern and South-Eastern regions should also be developed, and the information and knowledge base improved. Data on migration trends along migration routes in the region should be used to define policy and action priorities. Migration profiles should be established, with information on migration flows and stocks, as well as the economic dimension of migration.
Priority should focus on improved border management and prevention of illegal migration and trafficking. Emphasis is also placed on the contribution of migrants to the development of their countries of origin.
The conclusions welcome the mobility partnerships with Cape Verde and the Republic of Moldova. These partnerships constitute a new framework for cooperation on legal migration, in particular circular migration, with third countries. Circular migration allows some degree of mobility, giving people the opportunity to engage in an activity in their country of origin while retaining their main residence in one of the Member States, or to enter the EU temporarily for work, study or training, on the condition that they return home at the end of the activity. In this context, the Council invites the Commission to open a dialogue on pilot mobility partnerships with Georgia and Senegal.
Supporting the peace processes in Africa
In their conclusions adopted at the Council meeting on 16 June in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers welcomed the progress made in the African Great Lakes region. They underlined the importance of a regional approach and called for stronger cooperation between the countries concerned.
The African Great Lakes region – comprising Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda – has been seriously affected by civil wars, genocide and interstate conflicts for more than a decade. Over the past years, the European Union has been actively engaged in international efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in the region. The Pact on Security, Stability and Development which was adopted at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi in December 2006, held under the auspices of the UN and the African Union and with EU participation, paved the way for a comprehensive peace process and sustained economic and social development.
As regards the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Council condemned the ongoing armed conflicts in the Eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. It stressed the need to accelerate the disarmament process agreed between the Congolese Government and armed groups at a conference in Goma (DRC) in January 2008.
Regarding Rwanda, the Council emphasised the importance of parliamentary elections due next September. It confirmed the EU's readiness to send an electoral observation mission.
The Council welcomed progress achieved in Burundi, especially the return to the country of the leadership of the last active rebel movement (Palipehutu-FNL). It encouraged both sides to remain actively committed to the peace process and to implement the cease-fire agreement.
Regarding Uganda, ministers deplored the failure of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to sign the Final Peace Agreement negotiated with the Ugandan government in Juba (Sudan). They encouraged the Government of Uganda to honour the implementation of all provisions of the agreement, in order to stabilise the situation and to ensure a durable peace.
Security situation in Sudan
In its conclusions adopted on 16 June, the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) expressed its concern at the deterioration of the security situation in Sudan. It called on all parties to abide by their commitments under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005.
The Council, however, welcomed the Road Map on the disputed Abyei area agreed by the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on 8 June and urged both sides to fully respect the new agreement, so that the population can return to their homes. It also confirmed the EU's readiness to assist in meeting the humanitarian needs of the people displaced from Abyei.
Regarding the Darfur region, the Council called on the parties to commit to an immediate cease-fire and to reactivate the political process under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN). It emphasised the need to accelerate the deployment of the AU/UN hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Ministers reaffirmed the EU's support for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Any arrest warrant issued by the ICC should be respected and war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur effectively prosecuted.
The Council also expressed concern about the regional ramification of the crisis in Sudan. In view of the ongoing tensions between Sudan and Chad it urged both countries to adhere to the agreement they signed on 13 March in Dakar.
Council Press release (pdf)
Council webcast of press conference
European Council, 19-20 June
Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 23-24 June