My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 16 April. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Luxembourg.
The FAC will discuss current affairs, Russia, Iran, Syria, western Balkans and the European neighbourhood instrument.
Foreign Affairs Council
Ministers will have a substantive discussion of the EU’s five principles on Russia to follow up on the robust conversation at the March European Council on the challenges Russia poses, particularly in light of the Salisbury incident. The five principles are full implementation of Minsk agreements; closer ties with Russia’s former Soviet neighbours; strengthening EU resilience to Russian threats; selective engagement with Russia on certain issues; and support for people-to-people contacts.
Ministers will discuss the political situation in the western Balkans ahead of the EU28-Western Balkans summit in Sofia. We can expect the discussions to focus on the EU-facilitated dialogue on Kosovo/Serbia as well as the risks of instability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, if there is no agreement on electoral reform ahead of October’s elections.
Ministers will discuss shared concerns around Iran’s destabilising regional activity and the EU’s role in responding to this.
Ministers will discuss recent developments in Syria.
European Neighbourhood Instrument
Ministers will discuss the European neighbourhood instrument (ENI) and the next Multi-annual financial framework (MFF). The UK will have leave the EU before the MFF comes into effect and does not therefore expect to have a strong say in decisions but will note the importance of dedicated funding for the European neighbourhood in the next MFF.
The FAC is expected to adopt conclusions on Syria, South Sudan, malicious cyber-activities and chemical disarmament and non-proliferation.