EU — Council conclusions on Developments in the Southern Neighbourhood

3069th FOREIGN AFFAIRS Coun­cil meet­ing
Brus­sels, 21 Feb­ru­ary 2011
The Coun­cil adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:

“1. Europe and the Mediter­ranean region share a com­mon his­to­ry and cul­tur­al her­itage. The Coun­cil express­es its sup­port to the peo­ples of the South Mediter­ranean and their legit­i­mate hopes and aspi­ra­tions for demo­c­ra­t­ic change, social jus­tice and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. The EU stands ready for a new part­ner­ship in its rela­tions with the coun­tries of the region to sup­port the process towards democ­ra­cy, rule of law, socio-eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and strength­ened region­al sta­bil­i­ty, on the basis of shared prin­ci­ples, coop­er­a­tion and local own­er­ship. It is for the peo­ple of these coun­tries to choose their future.

2. The Coun­cil con­tin­ues to fol­low close­ly the very impor­tant devel­op­ments in the region. Events dif­fer in each coun­try but it con­demns all acts of vio­lence against peace­ful demon­stra­tors. The voic­es call­ing for the full respect of polit­i­cal, social and eco­nom­ic rights should be lis­tened to care­ful­ly.

3. In par­tic­u­lar, the Coun­cil con­demns the ongo­ing repres­sion against demon­stra­tors in Libya and deplores the vio­lence and the death of civil­ians. The Coun­cil calls for an imme­di­ate end to the use of force against pro­test­ers, and for all par­ties to show restraint. Free­dom of expres­sion and the right to assem­ble peace­ful­ly are human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms of every human being which must be respect­ed and pro­tect­ed. The legit­i­mate aspi­ra­tions and demands of peo­ple for reform must be addressed through open, inclu­sive, mean­ing­ful and nation­al Libyan-led dia­logue, that would bring a con­struc­tive future for the coun­try and for the peo­ple. We strong­ly encour­age all sides in this respect.

4. The Coun­cil wel­comes the deci­sion of Bahrain’s author­i­ties to open a nation­al dia­logue.

5. The Coun­cil urges the Yemeni author­i­ties to reach out to the peo­ple through a com­pre­hen­sive nation­al dia­logue.

6. The Coun­cil con­firms its sol­i­dar­i­ty with the Tunisian peo­ple and the EU’s engage­ment in sup­port of their efforts to estab­lish a sta­ble democ­ra­cy, based on the rule of law and plu­ral­ism, with full respect for human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms, and to con­tribute to socioe­co­nom­ic devel­op­ment and insti­tu­tion-build­ing. There­fore, it remains com­mit­ted to mobil­is­ing appro­pri­ate means and instru­ments in this regard. The EU wel­comes the deci­sion by Tunisia to hold an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence on sup­port to polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic reforms. The Coun­cil reit­er­ates its readi­ness to resume talks on the advanced sta­tus that shall be con­clud­ed with the gov­ern­ment that will emerge from demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tions. The Coun­cil calls on the Tunisian author­i­ties to pro­tect all peo­ple liv­ing in their juris­dic­tion with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion.

7. The Coun­cil salutes the courage of the Egypt­ian peo­ple in their peace­ful and dig­ni­fied mobil­i­sa­tion for demo­c­ra­t­ic change. The EU stands ready to sup­port the peace­ful and order­ly tran­si­tion to a civil­ian and demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­ern­ment based on the rule of law, with full respect of human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms and to sub­stan­tive­ly sup­port efforts to cre­ate an econ­o­my which enhances social cohe­sion and pro­motes growth. The rule of law should be respect­ed and applied to all, includ­ing EU cit­i­zens.

8. The Coun­cil encour­ages the tran­si­tion­al lead­er­ship in Egypt to set a clear timetable and steps for con­sti­tu­tion­al reform, which will pave the way for free and fair par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. The Coun­cil wel­comes the inten­tion of the tran­si­tion­al author­i­ties to lift the state of emer­gency and encour­ages them to con­tin­ue tak­ing fur­ther steps towards a broad­based and gen­uine­ly inclu­sive dia­logue while call­ing for a con­struc­tive approach of all par­ties. It expects the imme­di­ate release of all polit­i­cal pris­on­ers.

9. The Coun­cil is com­mit­ted to a new part­ner­ship involv­ing more effec­tive sup­port to those coun­tries in the South­ern Neigh­bour­hood which are pur­su­ing polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic reforms while draw­ing, where appro­pri­ate, on Euro­pean expe­ri­ence of tran­si­tion, includ­ing sup­port to civ­il soci­ety, youth and enhanced eco­nom­ic coop­er­a­tion. In this con­text, it is com­mit­ted to respond to demo­c­ra­t­ic trans­for­ma­tion process­es with spe­cif­ic polit­i­cal ini­tia­tives and sup­port pack­ages, build­ing on exist­ing and rel­e­vant pro­grammes. It will review, adapt and mobilise appro­pri­ate sup­port. As these coun­tries strive towards demo­c­ra­t­ic tran­si­tion, full local own­er­ship needs to be ensured.

10. The Coun­cil stress­es the impor­tance of strength­ened coop­er­a­tion with Mediter­ranean coun­tries to address ille­gal immi­gra­tion, in accor­dance with the prin­ci­ples of inter­na­tion­al law. JHA Min­is­ters meet­ing lat­er this week in the Coun­cil will pur­sue detailed work on this issue.

11. The Coun­cil wel­comes the work already under­tak­en by the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to fol­low-up the Euro­pean Coun­cil of 4 Feb­ru­ary 2011 to pre­pare a pack­age of mea­sures and adapt the EU instru­ments in sup­port of the region. The Coun­cil wel­comes the recent vis­it to the region by the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, her inten­tion to vis­it Egypt and the dia­logue with the author­i­ties and oth­er rel­e­vant inter­locu­tors in these coun­tries. It high­lights the impor­tance of the forth­com­ing high-lev­el meet­ing on Egypt and Tunisia. It reit­er­ates the need for a com­pre­hen­sive approach across all fields of EU engage­ment build­ing upon the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy and the Union for the Mediter­ranean with a view to lend­ing more effec­tive sup­port reflect­ing part­ners’ com­mit­ment for reform.”

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

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