EU/Iran/Haiti/Chile/Afghanistan/Middle East


{mospage­break heading=Foreign Affairs&title= — FREEDOM OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN IRAN}


The Coun­cil adopt­ed a dec­la­ra­tion on free­dom of access to infor­ma­tion in Iran, call­ing on the Iran­ian author­i­ties to halt the jam­ming of satel­lite broad­cast­ing, Inter­net cen­sor­ship and inter­fer­ence with mobile telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“1. Recall­ing its con­clu­sions of Decem­ber 2009 on human rights and democ­ra­ti­sa­tion in third coun­tries, the Coun­cil reit­er­ates its com­mit­ment to step­ping up EU action on the rela­tion­ship between free­dom of expres­sion and new tech­nolo­gies. The EU stress­es that free­dom of expres­sion through­out the world is a uni­ver­sal right which includes the right of indi­vid­u­als to seek, receive and impart infor­ma­tion regard­less of fron­tiers. Restric­tions and lim­i­ta­tions on the use of new tech­nolo­gies have emerged as a key chal­lenge to the respect for human rights in many parts of the world, under­min­ing the poten­tial the tech­nolo­gies have in pro­mot­ing free­dom of expres­sion.

2. In this con­text, the Euro­pean Union express­es its grave con­cern over mea­sures tak­en by the Iran­ian author­i­ties to pre­vent its cit­i­zens from freely com­mu­ni­cat­ing and receiv­ing infor­ma­tion through TV, radio satel­lite broad­cast­ing and the inter­net. Delib­er­ate inter­fer­ence by jam­ming of satel­lite broad­cast­ing has affect­ed numer­ous radio and TV ser­vices, includ­ing Euro­pean ser­vices, trans­mit­ted by EUTELSAT. In addi­tion, the Iran­ian author­i­ties reg­u­lar­ly pre­vent their cit­i­zens from freely access­ing, com­mu­ni­cat­ing and receiv­ing infor­ma­tion on the inter­net, and restrict or block mobile telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions.

3. The jam­ming of TV and radio satel­lite broad­cast­ing runs counter to the under­tak­ings giv­en by the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran itself in the con­text of the Inter­na­tion­al Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union (ITU). Despite com­plaints made to the Iran­ian author­i­ties through the ITU they have not put an end to this jam­ming, which orig­i­nates on Iran­ian ter­ri­to­ry.

4. The EU there­fore calls on the Iran­ian author­i­ties to stop the jam­ming of satel­lite broad­cast­ing and inter­net cen­sor­ship and to put an end to this elec­tron­ic inter­fer­ence imme­di­ate­ly. The EU is deter­mined to pur­sue these issues and to act with a view to putting an end to this unac­cept­able sit­u­a­tion.

5. The EU calls on Iran to ensure the right to free­dom of expres­sion as set out in the Inter­na­tion­al Covenant on Civ­il and Polit­i­cal Rights that the Islam­ic Repub­lic of Iran has signed and rat­i­fied.”

Euro­pean Coun­cil

{mospage­break heading=Foreign Affairs&title= — EU POSITION ON HAITI}


The Coun­cil was briefed by the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the Com­mis­sion­er for Inter­na­tion­al Coop­er­a­tion, Human­i­tar­i­an Aid and Cri­sis Response, Kristali­na Georgie­va. on their vis­it to Haiti on 2 and 3 March. It man­dat­ed the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to rep­re­sent the Union at the Inter­na­tion­al Donors’ Con­fer­ence – Towards a New Future for Haiti in New York – on 31 March and present a com­mon EU posi­tion pro­vid­ing an overview of the EU’s col­lec­tive effort and its sup­port for Haiti’s long-term recon­struc­tion and devel­op­ment.

It adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:

“1. The Coun­cil express­es its sup­port for the peo­ple of Haiti fol­low­ing the earth­quake and under­lines their own­er­ship and cen­tral respon­si­bil­i­ty for deter­min­ing their cur­rent and future pri­or­i­ties. Build­ing on its swift and effec­tive ini­tial response the Euro­pean Union will con­tin­ue to assist them in address­ing their human­i­tar­i­an needs, includ­ing putting in place con­tin­gency mea­sures in view of the upcom­ing rainy and hur­ri­cane sea­sons. Look­ing fur­ther ahead, the Euro­pean Union stands ready to sup­port a long-term plan over the next decade, led by the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti, and in part­ner­ship with the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, to sup­port recon­struc­tion and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in Haiti.

2. The Coun­cil sup­ports the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti’s lead­er­ship with regard to recov­ery and recon­struc­tion efforts and wel­comes its inten­tion to present its “Plan d’ac­tion pour le relève­ment et le développe­ment nation­al : les grands chantiers pour l’avenir” at the Inter­na­tion­al Donors’ Con­fer­ence Towards a New Future for Haiti in New York on 31 March 2010.

3. The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive will rep­re­sent the Euro­pean Union in New York and set forth a com­mon EU posi­tion with the fol­low­ing ele­ments:

a) An overview over the EU’s col­lec­tive effort in pro­vid­ing human­i­tar­i­an, civ­il pro­tec­tion and oth­er emer­gency assis­tance since the earth­quake, includ­ing mil­i­tary assets, and police sup­port;
b) The expres­sions of sol­i­dar­i­ty com­ing from Euro­pean cit­i­zens and civ­il soci­ety;
c) A com­mon aggre­gat­ed fig­ure rep­re­sent­ing the over­all EU com­mit­ment to the recon­struc­tion of Haiti;
d) Sup­port for a long-term plan that pro­vides the basis for last­ing inclu­sive eco­nom­ic growth and devel­op­ment in Haiti in the con­text of a joint EU approach link­ing relief to reha­bil­i­ta­tion and devel­op­ment, under­pinned by a com­mit­ment to joint pro­gram­ming to enhance aid effec­tive­ness and pro­mote an effec­tive divi­sion of labour;
e) An EU House in Haiti, where EU devel­op­ment capa­bil­i­ties could be co-locat­ed, to enhance EU coor­di­na­tion on the ground and sup­port joint pro­gram­ming and to assist EU donors not present in Haiti.

4. The Coun­cil under­lines the lead­er­ship of the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti in donor coor­di­na­tion, sec­tor coor­di­na­tion, and man­age­ment of the over­all recon­struc­tion agen­da and the impor­tance of demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance. It also stress­es the need to ensure ade­quate coor­di­na­tion with the UN, as well as with the World Bank, the Inter-Amer­i­can Devel­op­ment Bank, key bilat­er­al donors, and oth­er stake­hold­ers includ­ing region­al actors, in par­tic­u­lar through an over­ar­ch­ing coun­try-led gov­er­nance mech­a­nism which also offers a forum for pol­i­cy dia­logue, donor coor­di­na­tion and con­sul­ta­tion with the Hait­ian civ­il soci­ety.

5. The EU wel­comes the con­sid­er­a­tion of imple­men­ta­tion modal­i­ties such as a mul­ti-donor trust fund to ensure sup­port for long-term devel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties and ensure bet­ter coher­ence. Linked to its joint pro­gram­ming exer­cise, the EU will define its par­tic­i­pa­tion in dif­fer­ent imple­men­ta­tion bod­ies, based on an assess­ment of their effec­tive­ness.

6. In the light of the com­mit­ment to joint pro­gram­ming referred to in para­graph 3(d), the Coun­cil wel­comes the prepa­ra­tion of a joint EU Coun­try Strat­e­gy Paper and a joint aid plan­ning doc­u­ment for the EU1 in order to per­mit the effec­tive coor­di­na­tion of Com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment funds and those of the Mem­ber States con­tribut­ing to the effort to reha­bil­i­tate Haiti. These will be drawn up after the New York Con­fer­ence on the basis of the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti “Plan d’ac­tion pour le relève­ment et le développe­ment nation­al : les grands chantiers pour l’avenir,” under­pinned by the full Post-Dis­as­ter Needs Assess­ment, in con­sul­ta­tion with the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers.

* * *

The Coun­cil wel­comes the inten­tion of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the Com­mis­sion to review the Union’s emer­gency response capa­bil­i­ty and to report back to the Coun­cil, tak­ing into account ongo­ing eval­u­a­tions as well as lessons learned from the com­pre­hen­sive EU response to the Haiti earth­quake.”

Euro­pean Coun­cil

{mospage­break heading=Foreign Affairs&title= — CHILE}


The Coun­cil was briefed by the Com­mis­sion­er for Inter­na­tion­al Coop­er­a­tion, Human­i­tar­i­an Aid and Cri­sis Response, Kristali­na Georgie­va, on the EU’s response to the earth­quake and the tsuna­mi in Chile and on her vis­it there. The Coun­cil had a short dis­cus­sion, under­lin­ing that the EU’s response had been speedy and com­pre­hen­sive and that it was already look­ing ahead to sup­port for long-term recon­struc­tion. It request­ed the Euro­pean Invest­ment Bank to do like­wise.

Euro­pean Coun­cil

{mospage­break heading=Foreign Affairs&title= — AFGHANISTAN}


The Coun­cil dis­cussed devel­op­ments in Afghanistan and EU efforts on the ground on the basis of the EU’s 2009 Action Plan for Enhanced Engage­ment in Afghanistan and Pak­istan in the pres­ence of the EU’s new sin­gle rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Afghanistan, Mr Vygau­das Usackas. It adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:

“1.) The Coun­cil dis­cussed devel­op­ments in Afghanistan and EU efforts on the ground on the basis of the Action Plan for Enhanced EU Engage­ment in Afghanistan and Pak­istan, adopt­ed in Octo­ber 2009. The dis­cus­sion took place in the pres­ence of Mr. Vygau­das USACKAS, who today was appoint­ed as sin­gle rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the EU in Afghanistan, tak­ing up office from 1 April 2010. His appoint­ment as both the Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the EU and Head of the EU Del­e­ga­tion in Kab­ul is a fur­ther step to strength­en coor­di­nat­ed EU action on the ground, work­ing in close coop­er­a­tion with oth­er inter­na­tion­al actors. EU efforts will be spear­head­ed under Mr. Usackas’ lead­er­ship, who will guide the imple­men­ta­tion of the Action Plan, in close coop­er­a­tion with Mem­ber States’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Kab­ul. The Coun­cil expressed sin­cere appre­ci­a­tion to out­go­ing EU Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Ettore Sequi, and out­go­ing Head of the EU Del­e­ga­tion, Han­sjörg Kretschmer, for their out­stand­ing work over the past years.

2.) The Coun­cil reit­er­at­ed that the inter­nal secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion remained a direct chal­lenge to the sta­bil­i­ty of Afghanistan. The Coun­cil under­lined its con­tin­ued sup­port for inter­na­tion­al civil­ian efforts in Afghanistan, empha­sis­ing the cen­tral coor­di­na­tion role of UNAMA and reaf­firm­ing its sup­port for the UN man­date and the objec­tives of ISAF. The key to deliv­er­ing the civil­ian efforts will be enhanced coor­di­na­tion and the devel­op­ment of a coher­ent approach between all major civil­ian actors, notably the EU Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al and the NATO Senior Civil­ian Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, under the lead­er­ship of the Gov­ern­ment of Afghanistan. The Coun­cil under­lined the impor­tance of Afghan own­er­ship and lead­er­ship.

3.) The Coun­cil empha­sised its sup­port for the out­comes of the Lon­don Con­fer­ence of 28 Jan­u­ary 2010 and reit­er­at­ed that all efforts must now focus on imple­ment­ing the com­mit­ments made there, includ­ing with regards to the announced Peace and Rein­te­gra­tion Trust Fund to finance the Afghan-led Peace and Rein­te­gra­tion Pro­gramme. The Coun­cil under­lined the sig­nif­i­cance of bal­anced, Afghan-led rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and rein­te­gra­tion process­es as key ele­ments of a sus­tain­able polit­i­cal solu­tion in Afghanistan. In this respect, the Coun­cil wel­comed the organ­i­sa­tion of a Peace Jir­ga, sched­uled to take place this Spring. The Coun­cil also wel­comed recent con­tacts between lead­ers in the region aimed at con­fi­dence build­ing. It looks for­ward to a sec­ond suc­cess­ful ad hoc Sum­mit between the EU and Pak­istan on 21 April 2010.

4.) The Coun­cil dis­cussed the Kab­ul Con­fer­ence, which should fol­low up the com­mit­ments made in Lon­don. The Kab­ul Con­fer­ence will pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Afghan Gov­ern­ment to chart the way for­ward, notably on anti-cor­rup­tion, rein­forced secu­ri­ty, effec­tive and impar­tial gov­er­nance, eco­nom­ic and social devel­op­ment, human rights and improved elec­toral process­es. The EU expects that the Gov­ern­ment of Afghanistan will act swift­ly and deci­sive­ly to deliv­er on the promis­es made to its peo­ple. Through its Action Plan, the Euro­pean Union in coop­er­a­tion with UNAMA and oth­er inter­na­tion­al part­ners, con­tin­ues to pro­vide long-term assis­tance to Afghanistan in insti­tu­tion build­ing and civil­ian capac­i­ty pro­grammes, includ­ing at sub-nation­al lev­el. The Coun­cil expects to dis­cuss a first report on the progress of imple­men­ta­tion of the Action Plan next month.

5.) The Coun­cil stressed the impor­tance of cred­i­ble, inclu­sive and secure par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Afghanistan reflect­ing the will of the peo­ple. Recall­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the EU Elec­tion Obser­va­tion Mis­sion to the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tions of 2009 and the com­mit­ments made at the Lon­don Con­fer­ence to ensure the integri­ty of the elec­tions, the Coun­cil urged the Gov­ern­ment of Afghanistan to pro­ceed with­out fur­ther delay with reforms to the elec­toral process to safe­guard the impar­tial­i­ty, inde­pen­dence and integri­ty of the elec­toral insti­tu­tions, notably the Inde­pen­dent Elec­tion Com­mis­sion and the Elec­toral Com­plaints Com­mis­sion, in close coop­er­a­tion with the SRSG of the UN. The Coun­cil empha­sised that only struc­tur­al reforms will make any sup­port extend­ed to the elec­toral process by the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty ful­ly effec­tive. The Coun­cil will con­tin­ue to close­ly fol­low prepa­ra­tions for the upcom­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.”

Euro­pean Coun­cil

{mospage­break heading=Foreign Affairs&title= — MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS}


Over lunch, the Coun­cil dis­cussed the Mid­dle East Peace Process in the pres­ence of the Inter­na­tion­al Quar­tet Envoy, Tony Blair. The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive report­ed on her vis­it to the Mid­dle East and the Inter­na­tion­al Quar­tet meet­ing in Moscow and the Quar­tet Envoy briefed min­is­ters on the sit­u­a­tion and efforts on the ground.

EUROPEAN EXTERNAL ACTION SERVICE The Coun­cil in a joint ses­sion (Gen­er­al Affairs/Foreign Affairs) dis­cuss­es cur­rent work on the future Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice (see press release 7802/10).

Euro­pean Coun­cil

{mospage­break heading=Foreign Affairs&title= — OTHER BUSINESS}


• The Coun­cil held an exchange of views on Ukraine and the main lines of EU engage­ment, includ­ing the pack­age of mea­sures that the EU could offer Ukraine in return for imple­ment­ing inter­nal reforms, for exam­ple a roadmap towards a visa-free regime.

• The Coun­cil had a short dis­cus­sion on the Repub­lic of Moldo­va, relat­ing to macro-finan­cial assis­tance, the launch of a visa dia­logue and nego­ti­a­tions on a Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).

• The Coun­cil had an exchange of views on the bilat­er­al dis­pute between Libya and Switzer­land and the medi­a­tion efforts being led by Ger­many and Spain.

• The Coun­cil was briefed by the Sloven­ian For­eign Min­is­ter on the Brdo Con­fer­ence on the West­ern Balka­ns on 20 March.

Euro­pean Coun­cil