My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 April. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (defence) on 19 April. The Foreign Affairs Council and Foreign Affairs Council (defence) will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meetings will be held in Luxembourg.
Foreign Affairs Council
The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include Colombia, migration, Eastern Partners and the EU regional strategy for Syria/Iraq/Daesh. An informal lunch will take place with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, and a joint dinner between Foreign Ministers and Defence Ministers will cover Libya.
Ministers will have an informal session with Colombia’s High Commissioner for Peace, Sergio Jaramillo. This is an opportunity for an update on the Colombia peace process, progress on negotiations, and Colombian plans for post conflict implementation. The UK has been a strong supporter of the peace process and recently steered a resolution through the UN Security Council, securing unanimous approval for a UN role in monitoring and verification.
External aspects of migration
Ministers will exchange views on the external aspects of migration, as part of the EU’s ongoing efforts to reduce irregular migration into Europe. This is in line with the March European Council’s commitment to tackle the migration crisis through a comprehensive strategy.
Lunch with UNHCR, Filippo Grandi
The lunch will focus on the global refugee crisis. Given Grandi’s remit, and the proximity of the FAC to the World Humanitarian summit (23-24 May), there is likely to be some discussion of the summit, and reform of the global humanitarian system more broadly.
EU regional strategy for Syria/Iraq/Daesh
We expect the FAC to include an update from Mogherini on progress towards reviewing the EU’s regional strategy for Syria, Iraq and Daesh, which was adopted by the FAC in March 2015. The recent attacks in Brussels and Paris demonstrate Daesh’s resolve to attack Europe within our own borders. EU Interior Ministers have agreed measures to combat terrorism, especially the threat from Daesh. The EU must also do all it can to defeat and degrade Daesh in its heartland in Iraq and Syria, which includes political transition in Syria.
Ministers are expected to exchange views on recent developments in the six Eastern Partnership states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine.
The EU will play an important role in providing immediate support to a Government of National Accord (GNA). We will encourage the EU to develop its options for support based on the needs of the GNA in co-ordination with the UN. The FAC will also cover options for a possible common security and defence policy (CSDP) mission to support the Libyan GNA.
Foreign Affairs Council (Defence)
The Foreign Affairs Council (defence) will be preceded by the European Defence Agency (EDA) steering board and will meet in ministerial format. There will be no political decisions made on the EDA budget at this meeting; this will be addressed at the autumn steering board. The agenda will cover the implementation of key taskings and next steps, which includes: the policy framework for defence co-operation; hybrid warfare and the preparatory action for CSDP-related research.
The FAC(D) will receive an update on the development of capacity building for security and development (CBSD). Ministers will discuss the joint EEAS/Commission communication “Countering Hybrid Threats” and look at how to implement the actions proposed, including how to enhance work with NATO in this area. Ministers will also be asked to agree Council decisions on the revised EUTM Mali mandate and the establishment of a new EUTM in the Central African Republic.