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Foreign Affairs Council: 19 June 2017

Volume 627: debated on Monday 17 July 2017

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 19 June. 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 Luxembourg.

Foreign Affairs Council

The meeting covered discussions on the EU global strategy, EU-NATO, counter-terrorism, migration, Iraq and the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting.

EU global strategy

The Council had a discussion on the implementation on the EU global strategy. Foreign Ministers welcomed the report and highlighted the important work achieved over the year.

EU-NATO co-operation

Foreign Ministers discussed EU-NATO co-operation with NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller. The discussion was based on a joint progress report by the EU High Representative and the Secretary General of NATO. The Council adopted conclusions on the report, welcoming progress in the implementation of the common set of proposals and calling for further steps in the same direction. Foreign Ministers agreed to support more work, including on counter-terrorism, cyber security, hybrid threats and strategic communications.

Counter-terrorism

The discussion began with condolences for the recent attacks in London, Manchester and Mali. Foreign Ministers debated the external aspects of counter-terrorism, a timely discussion in view of the recent attacks in the EU and beyond. They underlined that counter-terrorism is the highest security priority for the EU. The Council adopted conclusions on counter-terrorism. The UK set out four areas to confront: risk of radicalisation in domestic communities; external conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Libya attracting foreign fighters; overseas financing of extremist groups; and online radicalisation.

Migration

Foreign Ministers discussed the external aspects of migration in preparation for the European Council of 22-23 June. They took stock of the progress made on the partnership framework. They discussed pressure on transit and origin countries, and the impact of EU efforts in the Mediterranean.

Iraq

The Council discussed Iraq, focusing on the latest developments, in particular in Mosul and Nineveh province, and on the future stabilisation of the country. The Council adopted conclusions.

Gulf crisis

Foreign Ministers discussed the current crisis in the Gulf region. They urged de-escalation of the crisis through dialogue and negotiation, and welcomed the mediation efforts of Kuwait. Ministers agreed on the importance of being seen to be impartial in the dispute. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs shared the UK’s analysis on the situation in the Gulf.

Eastern Partnership ministerial

Ministers discussed anti-corruption, strategic communication, rule of law, and human rights reform in Eastern Partnership countries. They welcomed the progress made on all of these issues and stressed their continued importance.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

The Council adopted conclusions on climate change following the United States Administration’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement.

The Council adopted conclusions on a framework for a joint EU diplomatic response to malicious cyber activities (“cyber diplomacy toolbox”).

The Council adopted conclusions on a renewed impetus for the Africa-EU partnership.

The Council adopted conclusions on Mali and the Sahel.

The Council adopted conclusions on the EU strategy for Central Asia.

The Council adopted conclusions welcoming the Court of Auditors’ special report on “EU assistance to Tunisia”.

The Council adopted conclusions on EU engagement with civil society.

The Council extended the restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia until 23 June 2018.

The Council extended the restrictive measures on sanctions on Guinea-Bissau for a further 12 months.

Member states participating in the European Defence Agency (EDA) adopted a declaration reaffirming their commitment to strengthen European defence co-operation by improving security of supply.

The Council endorsed a Joint Declaration between the EU, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain, the UK and Vietnam on reinforced co-operation in the field of sustainable energy.

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