EU Foreign Affairs Council — Discussions in particular about Gaza, Iran and the Western Balkans

The Coun­cil will dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza fol­low­ing the recent inci­dent involv­ing the flotil­la attempt­ing to reach Gaza.

In her reac­tion on 31 May on behalf of the EU, HR Ash­ton not­ed that the human­i­tar­i­an sit­u­a­tion in Gaza remained a source of grave con­cern and that the EU did not accept the con­tin­ued pol­i­cy of clo­sure. The EU under­lined the need to urgent­ly achieve a durable solu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza and called for an imme­di­ate, sus­tained and uncon­di­tion­al open­ing of cross­ings for the flow of human­i­tar­i­an aid, com­mer­cial goods and per­sons to and from Gaza. In this spir­it, and in the light of input from the HR and mem­ber states and of con­tacts with part­ners in the region and in the Quar­tet, the Coun­cil is expect­ed to exam­ine ways for the EU to con­tribute to improved access.

The Coun­cil is also like­ly to stress the impor­tance that the prox­im­i­ty talks con­tin­ue, and is expect­ed to adopt conclusions: 


The Coun­cil will hold a dis­cus­sion on the Iran­ian nuclear pro­gramme fol­low­ing the adop­tion by the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil of a res­o­lu­tion impos­ing a fourth round of sanc­tions in view of Iran­ian government’s fail­ure to meet its inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions under UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil and Inter­na­tion­al Atom­ic Ener­gy Agency (IAEA) resolutions.

In a state­ment imme­di­ate­ly after adop­tion of UNSCR 1929 on 9 June, the E3+3 min­is­ters with the sup­port of HR Ash­ton reaf­firmed their deter­mi­na­tion and com­mit­ment to seek an ear­ly nego­ti­at­ed solu­tion to the Iran­ian nuclear issue. They also reaf­firmed their June 2008 pro­pos­als, which remain valid, and expressed their readi­ness to con­tin­ue dia­logue with Iran. They asked HR Ash­ton to pur­sue this with Dr. Saeed Jalili, Sec­re­tary of Iran’s Supreme Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, at the ear­li­est opportunity. 

West­ern Balkans

The Coun­cil is expect­ed to dis­cuss — and wel­come — the out­come of the high lev­el meet­ing on the West­ern Balka­ns held in Sara­je­vo on 2 June under the chair­man­ship of Min­is­ter Morati­nos. It will also recall the EU’s unequiv­o­cal com­mit­ment to the Euro­pean per­spec­tive of the West­ern Balkan coun­tries in line with the Thes­sa­loni­ki Agenda.

On Alba­nia, the Coun­cil will dis­cuss the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, against the back­ground of efforts facil­i­ta­tion efforts ini­tia­tive by MEPs Daul and Schulz, which was sup­port­ed by the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and by Com­mis­sion­er Füle.

The Coun­cil is also expect­ed to have an exchange of views with the Pros­e­cu­tor of the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the for­mer Yugoslavia (ICTY), Serge Bram­mertz, fol­low­ing his series of vis­its to the region in prepa­ra­tion for his bian­nu­al report to the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, which is due to be pre­sent­ed on 18 June. The Coun­cil is due in par­tic­u­lar to return to the issue of the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Sta­bil­i­sa­tion and Asso­ci­a­tion with Ser­bia., fol­low­ing its deci­sion in Decem­ber last year to start imple­ment­ing the inter­im agree­ment. The Coun­cil will adopt con­clu­sions on these issues. 

Soma­lia and piracy

Over lunch, the Coun­cil will dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion in Soma­lia and the issue of pira­cy, includ­ing the pros­e­cu­tion of sus­pect­ed pirates, and will hear a brief­ing from the out­go­ing Com­man­der of the EU naval oper­a­tion EU NAVFOR ATALANTA, Rear-Admi­ral Peter Hud­son. HR Ash­ton is expect­ed to report on her trip to Kenya, Tan­za­nia and the Sey­chelles in May, dur­ing which she dis­cussed with part­ners in the region the devel­op­ment of region­al coop­er­a­tion to fight piracy.

The Coun­cil is also expect­ed to pro­long the man­date of oper­a­tion EUNAVFOR Ata­lan­ta for anoth­er two years until Decem­ber 2012. It should also agree in prin­ci­ple to extend the Area of Oper­a­tions fur­ther to its East and South in order to respond to the increased range of pirates’ attacks. The Coun­cil is expect­ed to adopt conclusions.

The EU favours a com­pre­hen­sive approach to the area, link­ing secu­ri­ty with devel­op­ment, the rule of law and respect for human rights, gen­der relat­ed aspects and inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an law. The EU’s naval oper­a­tion EU NAVFOR Soma­lia — Oper­a­tion ATALANTA was launched in Decem­ber 2008 to tack­le pira­cy off the Soma­li coast. The EU also launched a mil­i­tary mis­sion (EUTM) to con­tribute to the train­ing of Soma­li secu­ri­ty forces in April 2010.

The EU has com­mit­ted EUR 215.4 mil­lion for devel­op­ment aid to Soma­lia through the Euro­pean devel­op­ment fund for the peri­od 2008 to 2013. The cur­rent Euro­pean Com­mis­sion devel­op­ment aid pro­gramme to Soma­lia (includ­ing all regions of South-Cen­tral Soma­lia, Punt­land and Soma­liland) amounts to almost EUR 180 mil­lion and 87 projects.

The main areas of devel­op­ment coop­er­a­tion are gov­er­nance, secu­ri­ty and sup­port to civ­il soci­ety (29 projects ongo­ing amount­ing EUR 57.65 mil­lion), edu­ca­tion (15 projects ongo­ing amount­ing to EUR 45.7 mil­lion), the pro­duc­tive sec­tors and rur­al devel­op­ment (19 projects ongo­ing amount­ing to EUR 41.5 mil­lion). Human­i­tar­i­an aid from the EU amount­ed to EUR 45.8 mil­lion in 2008.

Oth­er items on the agenda

The Coun­cil is also expect­ed to dis­cuss — ad/or adopt con­clu­sions on — a num­ber of oth­er issues, includ­ing Haiti and dis­as­ter response, on the basis of input from Com­mis­sion­er Georgie­va; Cuba in the con­text of the annu­al eval­u­a­tion of the EU’s com­mon posi­tion; EU efforts on the issue of child labour, in the con­text of the inter­na­tion­al day against child labour (12 June). 

Team GlobDef

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