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Nikos Kotzias in Brussels to participate in EU Foreign Affairs Council

Nikos Kotzias in Brussels to participate in EU Foreign Affairs Council
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, will take part in Foreign Affairs Council of EU on Monday, July 17, in Brussels

The Council, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, will start at 10.00. Foreign ministers will hold a debate on the priorities for implementation of the EU Global Strategy for the forthcoming year, following up on their discussion at their June Council.

The Council will discuss the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), given the most recent developments. The Council is expected to adopt Council conclusions on the subject.

Foreign ministers will also discuss Libya, examining recent developments and future prospects in the light of the appointment of the new UNSG Special Representative Ghassan Salamé. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Libya.

Over lunch, foreign ministers will discuss migration, focusing on the situation in the Central Mediterranean Route, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration William Lacy Swing.

The Council is expected to adopt without debate a number of decisions and conclusions, including the approval of a crisis management concept for a civilian CSDP mission in support of security sector reform in Iraq, as well as Council conclusions on Pakistan, on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly and on addressing the risk of famine.

Implementation of the EU Global Strategy

The Council will discuss the priorities for implementation of the EU Global Strategy for the forthcoming year. This debate follows on from the discussion held during the Foreign Affairs Council in June, which focused on the implementation of the EU Global Strategy over the past year.

Foreign ministers had welcomed the report on the first year of implementation and highlighted the important work achieved over the year. Much progress has been made in the five priority areas for the first year of implementation:

– cooperation in security and defence,

– building resilience and an integrated approach to conflicts and crises,

– strengthening the nexus between internal and external policies, in areas such as

migration, sustainable development, counter-terrorism and organised crime.

– updating existing or preparing new regional and thematic strategies and

– stepping up public diplomacy efforts.

The discussion on Monday is expected to provide guidance on the priorities for 2017-2018. It is expected that the priorities for the forthcoming year will include both follow-up to the strands of work of the first year, in particular in the area of security and defence, on the internal / external nexus, resilience and the integrated approach, and on strategic communications and public diplomacy, but also new initiatives. Ministers may explore the possibilities of strengthening the EU's work in support of global governance, in particular the United Nations, and cooperative regional orders.

The High Representative presented the EU global strategy "Shared vision, common action: a stronger Europe" to the European Council on 28 June 2016. The strategy is intended to guide EU foreign and security policy in the years to come. The European Council welcomed the presentation and invited the High Representative, the Commission and the Council to take the work forward.

The Council adopted conclusions on the EU Global Strategy on 17 October 2016. placing the emphasis for the first year of implementation on the security of the Union, the resilience of states and societies in the East and South, and an integrated approach to conflicts and crises.

North Korea

Foreign ministers will discuss the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the light of recent developments, including the very recent launch of a ballistic missile of possible intercontinental range on 4 July 2017 in flagrant violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions. In this context, foreign ministers may focus how to bring about a change in the DPRK's behaviour and in particular on how to interact with partners in the region in order to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula and around on a lasting basis, uphold the international nonproliferation regime and improve the human rights situation in the DPRK.

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the DPRK.

Libya

The Council will discuss Libya and is expected to adopt conclusions. Ministers will discuss the political and security situation in Libya. They will review the EU's response to the situation and its support for stabilisation. They will also discuss the future prospects for the country, especially in the light of the recent appointment of Ghassan Salamé as the UN Secretary-General's special representative in Libya.

Foreign ministers will also discuss the ongoing work to address irregular migration along the Central Mediterranean Route. In an effort to further disrupt the business model of smugglers of migrants and traffickers of human beings, the Council is expected to introduce restrictions on the export to Libya of certain products which may be used to facilitate the smuggling of migrants and trafficking of human beings notably dinghies and outboard motors.

The EU provides assistance to Libya and the Libyan people through supporting a political transition and a negotiated settlement acceptable to all legitimate groups in the country, including by coordinating efforts with the League of Arab States, the African Union, and the United Nations (UN) in the framework of the Libya Quartet. It provides bilateral assistance to Libya, including humanitarian assistance and targeted assistance in the field of migration. The EU is also engaged in providing focussed support to Libya through its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations EUBAM Libya and EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia.

EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia is the EU's naval operation to disrupt the business model of smugglers of migrants and traffickers of human beings in the Southern Central Mediterranean. In addition, the operation has two supporting tasks, namely to train the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and to contribute to the implementation of the UN arms embargo.

EUBAM Libya assists and engages with the Libyan authorities on border management, law enforcement and criminal justice with a particular emphasis on the South of Libya. The mission plan for a possible civilian capacity-building and crisis assistance mission.

Migration

Over lunch, foreign ministers will have a discussion on migration together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration William Lacy Swing.

Ministers are expected to focus on the situation in the Central Mediterranean Route. This discussion follows the European Council meeting of 22-23 June, when EU leaders underlined that loss of life and continuing migratory flows of primarily economic migrants on the Central Mediterranean route is a structural challenge and remains an issue of urgent and serious concern.

They stated that the EU and its member states will have to restore control to avoid a worsening humanitarian crisis.

They called for further action to stem the flow of migrants from Libya to Italy along the Central Mediterranean route, including better support to Libyan coast guards, closer cooperation with countries of origin and transit, and further efforts to increase returns.

Work with partner countries in Africa to better tackle irregular migration and to fight smuggling networks will continue in this view, in the context of the partnership framework. Joint efforts have helped increase assisted voluntary returns of stranded migrants, and supported job creation and social projects.

Increased efforts have also taken place along the Central Mediterranean migration route since the adoption of the Joint Communication on the Central Mediterranean Route and the Malta Declaration. This has led to a more efficient cooperation with partner countries and international partners including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Better coordination between the EU and member states has increased the EU leverage on partners. It will be further stepped up to improve delivery, notably on reducing the irregular arrivals of migrants to the EU and enhancing cooperation between the EU and partner countries to ensure returns and readmission.

Other items

The Council is expected to adopt without debate a number of conclusions and decisions.

Civilian CSDP mission in Iraq

The Council is expected to adopt a crisis management concept for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq. In response to the request by the Iraqi authorities, and in line with the Council conclusions on Iraq of 19 June, the EU will launch a civilian CSDP mission which is expected to be in Bagdad in the autumn. The adoption of a crisis management concept is the first step to launch a new CSDP mission.

The mission will focus on assisting the Iraqi authorities in the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi security strategy. EU experts will provide advice and assistance in a number of priority work areas responding to the to respond to the needs of the authorities in this regards.

The national security strategy aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption, political instability and ethnic and sectarian polarisation.

Pakistan

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Pakistan. The conclusions are expected to state that the EU has a clear interest in a stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan.

Over the past years, the bilateral relations between the EU and Pakistan have been deepened through the implementation of the 5-year engagement plan adopted in 2012. The EU has also intensified institutional dialogues across priority areas including, political cooperation, security, governance, human rights, migration, trade and energy. Further dialogues have been set up in new areas such as counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and disarmament.

Work is ongoing between the EU and Pakistan on a political framework to replace the 5-year Engagement Plan through a new EU-Pakistan strategic engagement plan.

Addressing the risks of famine

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on addressing the risks of famine. The conclusions are due to note that humanitarian needs have been unprecedented in 2017. They include numerous chronic food security crises, with four countries facing an alarming risk of famine: Yemen, north-east Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan, where overall about 20 million people at risk of starvation.

The conclusions recall that the EU and its member states collectively have provided more than EUR 1.2 billion this year alone for humanitarian assistance in the four countries at risk of famine and will call on all traditional and emerging donors for further efforts to be made. The Council is due to note however that funding is only part of the solution. These crises are man-made, with their roots lying in conflict, and they require political solutions going beyond humanitarian assistance.

EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly. The key EU priority will be to uphold, strengthen and reform the UN and the rules based global order. For the 72nd UNGA, the EU will focus on a stronger global governance, on peace and conflict prevention and on an enduring agenda for transformation. Gender equality and women's empowerment as well as women, peace and security will be mainstreamed into all three priority areas./IBNA

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