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January 23, 2015, 15:05

January Foreign Affairs Council

Fight against terrorism & relations with Russia dominate

The first formal meeting of the EU foreign ministers of 2015 was dominated by discussions on how to fight terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks and recent Boko Haram atrocities in Nigeria as well as a discussion on the EU's future relations with Russia.

The EU High Representative Federica Mogherini chairs the monthly Foreign Affairs Council. Speaking to the press after the meeting Ms Mogherini stressed the need to coordinate in a much more active way when it comes to terrorism, both bilaterally and multilaterally, and to work on the cultural message. She said that a decision has been made to have security attachés in the European Union Delegations that are situated in relevant countries and to improve communication with the Arabic speaking populations, by improving the capacity to speak and read Arabic, in order to improve the dialogue.

One of the main topics of the meeting was a discussion on the EU's relations with Russia in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine and EU sanctions against Russia. Ms Mogherini emphasized that support for Ukraine was not going to change and she stated the need to explore further options for sectorial dialogues and elements for person to person contact so that the European Union can engage more with the Russian population rather than the Russian authorities.

Furthermore, during the Foreign Affairs Council the High Representative released a declaration on behalf of the EU on the Boko Haram Insurgency that has claimed hundreds of lives.

Further information can be found here