Tag Archives: Vienna

Strong European support to JCPOA

An extraordinary meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place in Vienna on 28 July 2019 upon the request of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The meeting was held in order to discuss the need regarding the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA in all its aspects.

The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini, by EEAS Secretary General Helga-Maria Schmid and was attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran at the level of Political Directors/Deputy Foreign Ministers.

Participants reaffirmed their continued commitment to preserving the JCPOA. They recalled that both nuclear commitments and sanctions-lifting are essential parts of the agreement. They also re-iterated the commitments contained in chair’s statements issued after previous Joint Commissions and, in particular, to continue discussions at expert level on sanctions-lifting and nuclear issues.

Participants reaffirmed their strong support and collective responsibility for the nuclear projects, in particular Arak and Fordow, which are an essential part of the JCPOA in order to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

It was agreed that a meeting of the Joint Commission at ministerial level would be convened in the near future.

Joined Commission to discuss Iran nuclear deal in Vienna

An extraordinary meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will take place in Vienna on 28 July 2019. The Joint Commission will be chaired on behalf of the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini by EEAS Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid and will be attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran.

“The meeting has been convened at the request of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Iran, and will examine issues linked to the implementation of the JCPOA in all its aspects.”

‘Europe that protects’ – motto of EU Austrian presidency

 ‘Europe that protects’ is the motto – Austria as a broker and bridge builder

“During its presidency, Austria intends to take on the role of bridge builder in Europe and reduce the tensions that have recently arisen. It is important to us to strengthen trust in the EU and ensure that the European Union can perform its big tasks,” said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on the occasion of Austria’s takeover of the presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July.

‘Servus Europe’

On 30 June, an event marking Austria’s takeover of the Council presidency was held in Schladming under the motto ‘Servus Europe’. Bulgaria symbolically handed over the presidency to Austria at a public kick-off event. Guests were able to enjoy activities such as a ‘summit picnic’, an EU hiking trail and the concluding ‘Europe LIVE’ concert in the Planai stadium.

‘A Europe that protects’

Under the motto of ‘A Europe that protects’, the Austrian government will focus on the following areas during its presidency: security and the fight against illegal migration, securing prosperity and competitiveness through digitalisation, and stability in the neighbourhood. The latter also includes the goal of supporting the continued efforts of the Western Balkan countries to move closer to the EU. In addition, Austria will advocate strengthening the principle of subsidiarity: the European Union should focus on big issues requiring a joint solution and take a step back when it comes to smaller matters where the member states or regions are in a better position to take decisions.

Coordination and representation

The main tasks of the country holding the presidency are to plan and chair the meetings of the Council and to represent the Council in relations with other European institutions. This gives Austria the opportunity to set its own priorities and to place issues on the Union’s agenda. Following its presidencies in 1998 and 2006, Austria has now, for the third time, assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2018. In these six months, the country will become an important hub in EU politics: a total of approximately 48 000 guests are expected at around 300 events. In addition, a cultural framework programme in Brussels and Austria will showcase the diversity of Austrian art and culture at European level.

The Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union consists of the ministers of all member states and represents the interests of the national governments. It is therefore also known as the EU Council of Ministers. It meets in different configurations, depending on the policy area being discussed. Each member state sends its minister responsible for that particular topic. Thus, finance ministers meet to discuss the topic of taxes, for example, and environment ministers come together to discuss environmental issues. Only in the area of foreign policy does the distribution of roles differ: here, the chair is held by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, currently Federica Mogherini.

Trio Presidency

Complementing the presidency of the Council of the European Union, which rotates every six months between the member states, the three countries that successively hold the presidency form an additional group, known as the ‘Trio Presidency’, for 18 months. Together, they work on objectives defined in the so-called ‘Trio Programme’. This is intended to facilitate the long-term planning of the presidency and ensure continuity in important topics. Austria shares the Trio Presidency with Estonia (second half of 2017) and Bulgaria (first half of 2018); its special focus is on migration, internal security, climate change, digitalisation and economic growth.

Vienna expels foreign-funded imams

Austria is considering to expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families and would shut down seven mosques as part of a crackdown on “political Islam“.


“The circle of people possibly affected by these measures – the pool that we’re talking about – comprises around 60 imams,” said Interior Minister Herbert Kickl of the  Freedom Party (FPÖ), the partner in Austria‘s coalition government.

Kickl was referring to imams with alleged links to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organisation, a branch of Turkey‘s religious affairs agency Diyanet.

The interior minister underlined that the government suspects them of contravening a ban on foreign funding of religious office holders.

The ministry informed that 40 of them had an active application for extending their residency and that a number of these had already been referred to immigration authorities, where a process for expelling them was underway.

Once family members were taken into account, a total 150 people were under procedure of losing their right to residence, Kickl told a Vienna press conference.

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”.

Europe attempts to save nuclear deal

A meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action #JCPOA 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 from the JCPOA and discuss the way forward to ensure the continued implementation of the deal in all its aspects. The EEAS Secretary General Helga Schmid who chaired the EEAS meeting on behalf of EU High Representative Federica Mogherini has issued a statement:

Under the terms of the JCPOA, the Joint Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the nuclear deal.

The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, by EEAS Secretary General Helga Schmid and, following the withdrawal of the United States of America from the JCPOA, was attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran at the level of Political Directors/Deputy Foreign Ministers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Director General Yukiya Amano was present at the beginning of the Joint Commission against the background of the 11th report by the IAEA which had just been issued. The participants welcomed the fact that the IAEA has again confirmed the continued adherence by Iran to its nuclear-related commitments. They also commended the professional and impartial role played by the IAEA, the only body charged with the monitoring and verification of the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015).

Participants regretted the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear deal and the announced re-imposition of US sanctions lifted under the JCPOA. The JCPOA is a key element of the global non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2231.

The Joint Commission meeting provided the opportunity to address the unilateral withdrawal of the United States and its consequences, to discuss the way forward, and the continued implementation of the JCPOA with regard to nuclear and sanctions lifting-related commitments, as well as Procurement Channel matters and civil nuclear cooperation.

Participants recalled their commitment to the continued, full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere, and recognised that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions allowing for the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the JCPOA.

Participants reviewed the potential impact of the re-imposition of US sanctions following a meeting of the Working Group on the Implementation of Sanctions-Lifting, which was convened the day before.

In this regard, participants discussed common efforts with a view to practical solutions concerning the following issues within the next few weeks: maintaining and deepening economic relations with Iran; the continued sale of Iran’s oil and gas condensate petroleum products and petrochemicals and related transfers; effective banking transactions with Iran; continued sea, land, air and rail transportation relations with Iran; the further provision of export credit and development of special purpose vehicles in financial banking, insurance and trade areas, with the aim of facilitating economic and financial cooperation, including by offering practical support for trade and investment; the further development and implementation of Memoranda of Understanding and contracts between third-countries companies and Iranian counterparts; further investments in Iran; the protection of economic operators and ensuring legal certainty; the further development of a transparent, rules-based business environment in Iran.

These efforts are aimed at preserving the interests of businesses and investors engaged with Iran. Participants noted that economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran were acting in good faith based on commitments contained in the JCPOA and endorsed at the highest level, unanimously by a UN Security Council Resolution.

Participants stressed their commitment to work to ensure that these benefits would continue to be delivered and agreed to this end to deepen their dialogue at all levels, including at the level of experts with a view to finding practical solutions to these problems.

Participants agreed to intensify their ongoing work in the Joint Commission and all its bodies in the format of E3/EU+2 and Iran, in particular the Working Group on the Implementation of Sanctions-Lifting.

As a next step, Iran proposed a Ministerial meeting of the Joint Commission.

Rex Tillerson to visit NATO HQ in Brussels

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Brussels (Belgium) Vienna (Austria), and Paris (France) on December 4-8.

On December 4, he will arrive in Brussels, where he will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and attend the December 5-6 NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting. While in Brussels, he will also meet with senior Belgian officials, as well as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of the 28 European Union member states to discuss U.S.-EU cooperation on major global issues.

On December 7 in Vienna, he will attend the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council, hosted by the OSCE Chairman-in Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. There he will attend the opening and first plenary sessions, together with ministers from the 57 OSCE participating States. He will also meet separately with Foreign Minister Kurz to discuss combatting violent extremism, curbing nuclear proliferation, promoting democratic and economic reform in the Western Balkans, and deepening bilateral trade ties.

Finally, Secretary Tillerson will travel to Paris to meet with senior French leaders to discuss our deep cooperation on issues of mutual concern around the world, including in Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, the DPRK, and the Sahel, in addition to other areas of bilateral interest.

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