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Foreign Affairs

The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is responsible for the EU's external action, ranging from foreign policy and defence to trade, development cooperation and humanitarian aid.

It defines and implements the EU's foreign and security policy on the basis of the guidelines set by the European Council.

Together with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council ensures the unity, consistency and effectiveness of the Union's external action.

The High Representative and the member states may submit proposals to the Council for the area of common foreign and security policy.


What policy areas does the Foreign Affairs Council configuration cover?

The Foreign Affairs Council covers the following areas of the European Union's external action, in particular:


The Union's foreign policy is intended to promote its values, interests and the protection of EU citizens. In particular, the EU aims to contribute to:

  • peace and security;
  • sustainable development;
  • solidarity and mutual respect among peoples;
  • free and fair trade;
  • eradication of poverty;
  • protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child; and
  • strict observance of international law.

How does the Foreign Affairs Council configuration work?

Once a month, the foreign ministers of EU Member States meet in the Foreign Affairs Council. Depending on the agenda, the Council can also bring together:

  • defence ministers (Common Security and Defence Policy - CSDP)
  • development ministers (Development Cooperation)
  • trade ministers (Common Commercial Policy)


The Foreign Affairs Council's meetings are chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The High Representative is assisted by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and by the General Secretariat of the Council (GSC).