Tag Archives: Council

EU diplomats focus on Belarus

Brussels 21.06.2021 “Today, at this meeting in Luxembourg, the first thing is to talk about Belarus. We are first going to have a meeting with the Belarus opposition leader, Ms [Sviatlana] Tsikhanouskaya. She will explain the situation in the country; there will be a debate; and then we will approve the package of new sanctions, which is a wide package. I think it is about 86 people or entities. Not only people, but also entities” said the High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival to the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

“Then we will also discuss about the economic sanctions, which will be presented to the European Council at its next meeting. The European Council, as you know, does not take decisions, but gives political guidelines. The economic sanctions, which affect the economy of Belarus, are going to be discussed here today and will be approved after consideration by the European Council.

“Then we are going to have a meeting also with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iraq, in a lunch with him. The situation in Iraq is also worrisome and we will see what we can do in order to help this country.

“Latin America will be the third issue. Since I am here [in the position of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy], I have been trying to make people understand that Latin America is not on our political agenda enough. The COVID-19 situation in Latin America is really appalling. Frankly speaking, it is decreasing everywhere in the world, but not in Latin America where it continues to increase. And we have to do more for Latin America. There are two Association Agreements on the way and we have to accelerate them. And then, for sure, there is the issue of Mercosur. We are going to take stock of the whole relationship with Latin America.

“There are many other issues on which we have to put our attention: Ethiopia, Turkey. I am coming back from Turkey and Lebanon. In Lebanon, I sent a clear message about the need for the political class to be able to agree on a government, because the country cannot stay without a government in such a difficult situation.

“We will have an overview of the situation in the world, but the main issues are Belarus, Iraq and Latin America”.

EU Climate diplomacy

Brussels 25.01.2020 The Council today adopted conclusions on ʻClimate and Energy Diplomacy – Delivering on the external dimension of the European Green Dealʼ.

In its conclusions the Council recognises that climate change is an existential threat to humanity. It notes that global climate action still falls short of what is required to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Council acknowledges that although Europe is showing leadership and setting an example by stepping up its domestic commitments, there is an urgent need for collective and decisive global action. The coherent pursuit of external policy goals is crucial for the success of the European Green Deal.

The Council calls on all parties to enhance the ambition of the nationally determined contributions and to present long-term low emissions development strategies well ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties in Glasgow in November 2021, whilst welcoming recent mid-century climate neutrality as well as carbon neutrality commitments, in particular those recently taken by major economies.

The Council also notes the intrinsic link between climate change and security and defence, and the need to strengthen and mainstream work on the climate and security nexus, notably in support of UN activities.

The conclusions confirm the EUʼs continuous commitment to further scale up the mobilisation of international climate finance, including sustainable finance practices, as a contribution to the transition towards climate neutrality. The Council notes, in this context, that the EU is the largest contributor of public climate finance, having doubled its contribution from the 2013 figure to EUR 23.2 billion in 2019.

The Council stresses that EU energy diplomacy will aim, as its primary goal, to accelerate the global energy transition, promoting energy efficiency and renewable technologies, amongst other things. At the same time, the EU’s energy diplomacy will discourage further investments into fossil-fuel-based infrastructure projects in third countries, unless they are aligned with an ambitious climate neutrality pathway, and will support international efforts to reduce the environmental and greenhouse gas impact of existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

The Council also calls for a worldwide phase-out of unabated coal in energy productions, and will launch or support launching international initiatives to reduce methane emissions.

The Council notes that while the energy transition is central to the path towards climate neutrality, it will have a significant impact on societies, economies and geopolitics globally. EU energy diplomacy will continue to play a key role in maintaining and strengthening the energy security and resilience of the EU and its partners.

The conclusions highlight the importance of effective multilateral structures and deepening international cooperation in relevant international fora, whilst identifying the Paris Agreement as the indispensable multilateral framework governing global climate action.

Mairead McGuinness new EU finance Commissioner

Brussels 12.10.2020 The EU Council today appointed, by common accord with the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Mairead McGuinness as new member of the European Commission.

The appointment follows the resignation of Phil Hogan and is for the remainder of the term of office of the Commission, which runs until 31 October 2024.

Ms McGuinness has been assigned by the President of the Commission the portfolio of financial services, financial stability and the Capital Markets Union.

In accordance with Article 246 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, a vacancy caused by resignation of a member of the Commission is filled for the remainder of his or her term by a new member of the same nationality. The new member is appointed by the Council, by common accord with the President of the Commission, after consulting the European Parliament.

Borrell meets Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Brussels, 21.09.2020 Ahead of the Foreign ministers Council the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarus opposition politician in exile: “We met with Sviatlana #Tsikhanouskaya ahead of #FAC. The EU has no hidden agenda. Belarusian people should be able to freely choose their president, without persecution and repression. Only an inclusive national dialogue can lead to a peaceful and sustainable solution #Belarus” the head of the EU diplomacy wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

The situation in Belrus after the sham elections is one of three major issues for discussion with EU Foreign Ministers. The other key topics for the EU diplomacy are “positive momentum” in Libya and relations with the African Union.

EU Special recovery plan Council

Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their meeting on 17-18 July 2020 reads as follows:

«On Friday, for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, we will be able to meet again here in Brussels.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed many lives across Europe and dealt a serious blow to our economies and societies. It continues to impact our lives. All our efforts must focus on building a sustainable recovery. To that end, our meeting this week will be dedicated to the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Recovery Plan.

Since our last summit in June, we have worked intensively with all of you and taken due note of your concerns. On that basis I have put forward a proposal to address the key difficulties and to build bridges between the different positions. Finding agreement will require hard work and political will on the part of all. Now is the time. A deal is essential. We will need to find workable solutions and come to an agreement, for the greater benefit of our citizens.

Our meeting will start on Friday at 10.00 a.m. with the traditional exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. We will then hold our first working session and take it from there.

I look forward to welcoming you again in Brussels!»

EU leaders will meet physically in Brussels to discuss the recovery plan to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and a new long-term EU budget.

President Michel has proposed €1 074 billion to fulfil the long-term objectives of the EU, and to preserve the full capacity of the recovery plan. This proposal is largely based on the February proposal, which reflected two years of discussions between member states.

Rebates

Lump sum rebates would be maintained for Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden.

Size of the recovery fund

The Commission would be empowered to borrow up to €750 billion through an own-resource decision. These funds may be used for back-to-back loans and for expenditure channelled through the MFF programmes.

President Michel has proposed to preserve the balance between loans, guarantees and grants to avoid over-burdening member states with high levels of debt. “This is also key for the future of the Single Market and to prevent more fragmentation and disparities,” he said.

Allocation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF)

This proposal ensures the money goes to the countries and sectors most affected by the crisis: 70% of the Recovery and Resilience Facility would be committed in 2021 and 2022, according to the Commission’s allocation criteria. 30% would be committed in 2023, taking into account the drop in GDP in 2020 and 2021. The total envelope should be disbursed by 2026.

Governance and conditionality

Based on the proposal, member states will prepare national recovery and resilience plans for 2021-2023 in line with the European Semester, notably country-specific recommendations. The plans will be reviewed in 2022. The assessment of these plans will be approved by the Council by a qualified majority vote on a proposal by the Commission.

Secondly, 30% of funding will target climate-related projects. Expenses under the MFF and Next Generation EU will comply with the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050, the EU’s 2030 climate targets and the Paris Agreement.

The third conditionality proposed by the President is linked to the rule of law and the European values.
“We are taking a key step to anchor the rule of law and values in our European project and this is why I propose a strong link between funding and respect for governance and rule of law,” said President Michel.

Image: Europa building, Brussels, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

EU updates Arctic policy

“While recognising the primary responsibility of the Arctic states for the development of the region, the Council notes that many of the issues affecting the region are of a global nature and are more effectively addressed through regional or multilateral cooperation. It notes that the EU should continue to make a significant contribution in both regional and multilateral fora which deal with arctic matters.”

“In light of the new challenges and opportunities across the Arctic and growing international interest, the Council invites the High Representative and the Commission to continue to actively implement EU Arctic policy, to initiate a process in order to update this policy and to continue to report to the Council regularly.”

EU Foreign Ministers focus on Syria and Ukraine

“You know that today we are mainly discussing the military operations in Syria. To me the most important point will be the fact that we are hosting the UN Special Envoy for Syria, [Geir] Pedersen. We will discuss with him how we can help protect the political process from this new military escalation. And obviously, as you know, Member States will discuss how far they are ready to go on some measures that are on the table when it comes to the Turkish military activities in Syria, but also the drillings in Cyprus” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said upon her arrival to EU Foreign Affairs Ministers Council in Luxembourg.

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 “This meeting is important not only for the decisions it could take, but also to prepare the European Council. Because as you know, the European Council later this week will have the same two topics on the agenda, among others. It will also be useful to prepare the meeting of heads of state and government on these two issues.”

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 “And we will also host the Foreign Minister of Ukraine [Vadym Prystaiko] today. For me it is very important to keep the European Union’s attention, and that of the international community on that. It will be an opportunity for us to hear from him about the plans of the new administration – of the new government – on reforms. As you know, the European Union is the main supporter of Ukrainian reforms and also of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. So it will also be a good opportunity for us to discuss with him on the perspectives for the country.”

EU27 expects to formalise Brexit deal by end November

In the next days, we will proceed as follows. The agreement is now being analysed by all the member states. By the end of this week, the EU27 ambassadors will meet in order to share their assessment of the agreement. I hope that there will not be too many comments” –  said president Donald Tusk after his meeting with Brexit EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

“They will also discuss the mandate for the Commission to finalise the Joint Political Declaration about the future relations between the EU and the UK. The European ministers will be involved in this process. The Commission intends to agree the declaration about the future with the UK by Tuesday. Over the following 48 hours, the member states will have time to evaluate it, which means that the EU27 Sherpas should conclude this work on Thursday. Then, if nothing extraordinary happens, we will hold a European Council meeting, in order to finalise and formalise the Brexit agreement. It will take place on Sunday 25th November at 9:30Tusk annonced.

Finally, let me say this to our British friends. As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, both for you and for us.”

We still have a long road ahead of us on both sides,” chief negotiator Michel Barnier said.

 

EU foreign ministers aimed at saving nucelar deal

The saving of Iranian nuclear deal #JCPOA remains the major challenge for the EU diplomacy, gathering for foreign ministers Council in Brussels. The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said  she will inform the ministers about the results of the Vienna meeting on the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (#JCPOA) , which took place in Vienna on 25 May 2018 upon the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to review the implications of the withdrawal of the United States. And

“Today on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers we have first and foremost our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA]. You know that we have been acting already at European Union level to put in place a set of measures, to make sure that the nuclear agreement is preserved and the economic investments from the European side, but also from other sides in the world are protected” – Mogherini said upon arrival.

“Today, we will discuss this further with the Member States for the first time since the announcement of the US withdrawal from the agreement. This will allow Member States to contribute and complement, on their side, to the measures we have put in place at the level of the European Union.”

“I will update the Ministers on the good Joint Commission meeting we had last Friday in Vienna, where the remaining countries, without the United States, met at the level of Deputy Ministers, together also with Director General of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya] Amano that confirmed for the 11th time that Iran is fully compliant with all its nuclear related commitments on the deal”.

EU: no additional sanctions against Iran

“No, there is no proposal of additional sanctions against Iran.The focus today will be on continuing the full implementation of the nuclear deal. All three, but also Russia, China, the United States and Iran, just assessed on Friday that the deal is being implemented and that we all stay committed to its full implementation. The focus will be on this today” – said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini at doorstep of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels.

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