My noble Friend the Minister of State for Defence (Earl Howe) and I plan to attend the Joint Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) with EU Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers on the morning of 25 June. I will attend a meeting of the FAC for Foreign Ministers only that afternoon. The FAC will be chaired by the High Representative and Vice-President (HRVP) of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Luxembourg.
The joint FAC will discuss security and defence issues including EU-NATO co-operation. Foreign Ministers will then discuss current foreign policy issues including Yemen, the Red sea and horn of Africa, Jordan, and the EU global strategy.
Joint Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs (Defence) Councils
Security and defence
The Joint Council will have two sessions. The first will cover security and defence during which Ministers will discuss permanent structured co-operation, military mobility, the European peace facility, and EU-NATO co-operation. The HRVP will refer to the March European Council’s tasking on hybrid threats and resilience, which will be discussed by leaders at the June European Council on 28 and 29 June.
The second session will be attended by the NATO Secretary-General, and will cover EU-NATO co-operation, preparation for the NATO summit, and military mobility.
Ministers are expected to approve Council conclusions on security and defence in the context of the EU global strategy.
Foreign Affairs Council
Ministers will discuss the latest developments in Yemen, and how the EU can best support the UN special envoy’s efforts to revitalise the political process and work towards the resumption of negotiations. The dire humanitarian situation will be central to the discussion, recognising the urgent need to prevent further deterioration. The impact of the conflict on regional security and stability will also be addressed. The FAC is expected to approve Council conclusions on Yemen.
Horn of Africa/Red sea
Ministers will discuss the importance of inter and intra-regional co-operation in delivering peace, stability, and economic growth in the Red sea and the horn of Africa, including co-ordinated support to Somalia, the resolution of conflict in South Sudan, and the management of water security. The FAC will consider the impact of regional conflict on Red sea shipping routes, and of climate change on existing humanitarian challenges in the horn of Africa. While acknowledging recent positive developments, the FAC will discuss the importance of reform towards greater political freedom and human rights in the region. The FAC is expected to approve Council conclusions on the horn of Africa and Red sea.
EU global strategy
The HRVP will present the second progress report on the implementation of the EU’s global strategy for the EU’s foreign and security policy that was presented to the European Council in June 2016.
The FAC will discuss recent developments in Jordan, following country-wide protests and the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Government. The UK remains committed to supporting Jordanian stability and will continue to engage positively with the new Jordanian Government, supporting them to meet their commitments to economic reform.
The FAC is also expected to adopt Council conclusions on Sahel/Mali.