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Foreign Affairs Council: 15 May 2017

Volume 629: debated on Monday 16 October 2017

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 May. 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

Agenda items included security and defence, Horn of Africa, EU-Africa and the Eastern Partnership.

Security and defence

The security and defence discussion centred on HRVP Mogherini and the European Commission updating Foreign Ministers on a variety of dossiers, including the military planning and conduct capability, permanent structured co-operation, the co-ordinated annual review of defence, the forthcoming ATHENA review, CSDP and the European defence fund.

Horn of Africa

There was widespread agreement among Foreign Ministers that the Horn was of strategic importance for Europe. Mogherini and several others warmly thanked the UK for the London conference which offered an opportunity to stabilise Somalia. Other areas highlighted for increased EU action were the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Nile basin tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, and using the EU-strategic partnership with Ethiopia to deliver messages on human rights and political reform.

EU-Africa

Mogherini introduced the 4 May EEAS/Commission Joint Communication (JC) on the future direction of the EU-Africa relationship, including deliverables for the November Africa-EU summit. There were two main themes: creating more resilient states and societies, and generating jobs—especially for young people. Member states welcomed the JC and its proposals to increase investment, jobs, and improve education. Foreign Ministers had lunch with African Union Chair Faki.

Eastern partnership

Foreign Ministers looked forward to the Eastern partnership summit in November and discussed how best to build strong links with partners.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

The Council adopted conclusions on Venezuela.

The Council adopted conclusions on indigenous peoples.

The Council approved a concept of operations on regionalisation of CSDP action in the Sahel.

The Council approved the staff rules of the EU Satellite Centre (SATCEN).

The Council approved the High Representative report on the operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Council adopted a decision mobilising €2.64 million under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to provide support to 964 dismissed workers made redundant in four finnish enterprises operating in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products sector.

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