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Foreign Affairs Council

Volume 613: debated on Thursday 21 July 2016

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 July. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

A provisional report of the meeting and conclusions adopted can be found at: http://www.consilium.europa. eu/en/meetinas/fac/2016/07/18/

The Foreign Secretary made clear to his counterparts that while the UK is leaving the EU, we have no intention of turning our back on Europe and will not any way be abandoning our leading role in European co-operation.

In the aftermath of the attack in Nice, Ministers discussed the fight against terrorism. They observed a minute of silence at 12:00 to pay tribute. The agenda for the Council was adjusted to allow time for Ministers to discuss counter-terrorism in the aftermath of the Nice attack and recent events in Turkey.

Fight against terrorism

Ministers expressed their condolences following the Nice attack and underlined their determination to tackle terrorist threats and their readiness to continue supporting France. The Foreign Secretary emphasised his solidarity with France and made the argument for terrorism to be tackled at source across the globe. He confirmed that the UK would consider what further support could be offered in response to French requests.


Ministers discussed the recent events in Turkey. The Council adopted conclusions.

EU global strategy

Ministers discussed the EU global strategy which was presented by HRVP at the European Council on 29 June. The Foreign Secretary set out the Government’s view that the strategy correctly identifies a number of important priorities, including the central role of NATO in providing European security. Ms Mogherini confirmed that the EU External Action Service would produce a written proposal on the implementation of the strategy. Options would be presented to member states in the autumn.


Ministers discussed the EU’s strategy towards China following the recent EU-China summit; and adopted Council conclusions. The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr Johannes Hahn, reported that the EU had conveyed clear messages to China on over-capacity and the need to improve access to the Chinese market for EU companies. The Chinese side had raised market economy status. Member states welcomed the strategy.

Latin America

Ministers discussed EU relations with Latin America, focusing on Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba. Ms Mogherini underlined the importance of the forthcoming EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Foreign Ministers meeting that will take place in the Dominican Republic on 25-26 October. She also welcomed the finalisation of the EU-Cuba political dialogue and co-operation agreement (PDCA).The Council also took note of recent positive developments in the Colombian peace process. Council conclusions were adopted on Venezuela.


Due to time constraints, Ms. Mogherini informed Ministers that she would provide an update in writing on the implementation of the migration partnerships envisaged in the conclusions of the June European Council.

Ministers agreed without discussion a number of measures:

The Council adopted conclusions on Somalia.

The Council adopted conclusions on Afghanistan.

The Council adopted conclusions on Pakistan.

The Council adopted conclusions on the recent outbreak of violence in South Sudan.

The Council adopted the agenda for the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Joint Council and ministerial meeting, held after the Foreign Affairs Council.

The Council approved two decisions on the conclusion of a protocol to the EU-Lebanon Euro-Mediterranean agreement to take account of the accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania.

The Council adopted a decision on the conclusion of a protocol to the EU-Lebanon Euro- Mediterranean agreement which enables Lebanon to participate in EU programmes.

The Council adopted a common position in view of the eighth meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council with Albania, to take place in Brussels on 8 September 2016.

The Council adopted a decision on the conclusion of a protocol which enables Azerbaijan to participate in EU programmes such as Creative Europe and Horizon 2020.

The Council adopted EU priorities for the 71st United Nations General Assembly (September 2016 to September 2017).

The Council adopted amending legal acts which transpose into EU law the recent UN Security Council resolution renewing UN sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo until 1 July 2017.

The Council extended the mandate of European conference on antennas and propagation (EUCAP) Sahel Niger until 15 July 2018 and agreed a budget of €26.3 million for the period 16 July 2016 to 15 July 2017.

The Council adopted a decision on the EU position on the EU-Central America Association Council.

The Council adopted a code of conduct and discipline for EU civilian CSDP missions.

The Council adopted a decision concerning the staff regulations of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

The Council approved a decision for a temporary relaxation of the rules of origin under the EU-Jordan-Euro-Mediterranean agreement so as to enhance Jordan’s exports to the Union and create additional employment opportunities, especially for Syrian refugees.

The Council approved a decision on the signing and provisional application of a protocol to the EU-Egypt Euro-Mediterranean agreement to take account of the accession of Croatia to the EU.

The Council adopted the EU and its member states’ position for the ministerial conference of the Union for the Mediterranean on employment and labour, which will take place in Jordan on 27 September.