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18/11/2014 – Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
At a Foreign Council Affairs meeting chaired by Federica Mogherini, EU foreign ministers discussed, on 17 November, the state of play in Ukraine while on 18 November, EU defence ministers talked about security and defence topics.
Ukraine was the main focus of this month’s Foreign Affairs Council. EU ministers had an extensive discussion on the latest events in the region, the prospects for peace and Ukraine’s reform agenda.
Following the recent heavy shelling and reports about armed convoys moving in the separatist areas from across the Russian border, the Council urged all parties to fully implement the Minsk Protocol and respect the conditions of the ceasefire.
The EU has a major role to play to avoid a further deterioration of the military, socio-economical and humanitarian situation. The Council supports a relaunch of the dialogue to solve the issue between Kiev and Moscow.
New sanctions under consideration
Having assessed the situation on the ground, EU ministers asked the EEAS and the EU Commission to present a proposal before the end of the month adding new individuals to the list of those already hit with travel bans and asset freezes.
The Council will continue to closely follow the situation on the ground and decide whether to enforce them.
It welcomed the holding of the Ukraine parliamentary elections on 26 October and called for the rapid formation of a new government. EU ministers asked the authorities in Kiev to commit to pursuing administrative and economic reforms including constitutional changes, and more decentralisation.
The Council also set the 1 December as launch date of the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform Ukraine (EUAM Ukraine).
18 November 2014: security and defence on the agenda of the Council
EU defence ministers meeting in the defence format of Foreign Affairs Council discussed the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
EU leaders will discuss the goals of the CSDP at the June 2015 European Council meeting. They have called for a more efficient policy, a stronger defence industry and a boost in military capabilities.
In the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, EU defence ministers discussed the situation in the European broader neighbourhood ( mainly Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and Libya). They also looked at the status of the 5 European military operations in Bosnia, Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia and the Gulf of Aden.
Other topics on the agenda
EUforeign ministers took stock of developments in the Middle East peace process, following the High Representative’s trip to the region. The EU is particularly eager to start again discussions over a peace process for the region, with US Secretary John Kerry, within the framework of the UN Security Council but also at a regional level with other Arab countries.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Based on the initiatives of certain member states, EU ministers discussed the European of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative mentioned that ministers agreed to open a process on a new basis without touching the conditionality of the enlargement process.
EU Ebola coordinator Christos Stylianides briefed the Council on the key findings and priorities for actions he has identified following his recent trip to West Africa.
The Council welcomed his commitment to strengthen the European Union’s collective response and coordinates his work with the United Nations, regional organisations and other key partners.
EU ministers also discussed the efforts of Bernadino León, UN Special Envoy for Libya, to discuss the UN mediation efforts in the country and how the EU can support Libya in setting up a stable and democratic inclusive state.
Ministers also adopted without discussion:
- a cyber defence policy framework
- a policy framework to improve long-term defence cooperation
- conclusions on the action plan on visa liberalisation for Georgia