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Foreign Affairs Council: Main results - 14 November

EU News 365/2016

Council of the European Union

Security and defence

Foreign ministers had a joint session with defence ministers on the implementation plan on security and defence under the EU global strategy. The Council adopted conclusions setting out the level of ambition and  the way forward on the future development of EU security and defence policy.


Ministers restated their concerns at recent developments in Turkey as set out by the High Representative in her declaration on behalf of the EU of 8 November 2016. In their debate, they particularly highlighted worrying  renewed considerations in Turkey to introduce a bill to parliament to reinstate the death penalty. They also underlined that Turkey is a key partner of the EU in the areas of the economy, security, migration and foreign policy, in particular with regard to Syria and Iraq. The Council recalled the EU's condemnation of the 15 July coup attempt. While recognizing the need for Turkey to take proportionate action, ministers also recalled that, as a candidate country, Turkey is expected to uphold the highest standards of democracy, including respect for human rights, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and the right of all to a fair trial. EU ministers agreed on the importance of continuing political dialogue with Turkey at all levels.

Southern Neighbourhood

Ministers discussed the Southern Neighbourhood, focusing on Syria. The High Representative informed the Council of  her recent outreach efforts with key actors in the region, in line with the European Council mandate and in full support of the efforts of the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. The High Representative referred to, in particular, her most recent visits to Iran on 29 October and to Saudi Arabia on 31 October. In its conclusions on Iran, which were adopted without debate, the Council welcomed this outreach and invited the High Representative to continue her work. The Council expressed its concern at the escalation of tensions in the region, and called for  a more constructive regional environment, as well as an end to the violence in Syria and support for the resumption of a political process.

The Council also adopted a decision adding 17 ministers and the Governor of the Central Bank of Syria to those subject to sanctions imposed  against the Syrian regime over the violent repression of the civilian population.

Eastern Partnership

The Council discussed the state of current multilateral and bilateral relations with the six Eastern Partnership countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Ministers had an exchange of views on the implementation of the Partnership, as well as  possible results which could be achieved in 2017, in particular  with a view to the next Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2017 in Brussels.

The Council adopted conclusions on the Eastern Partnership.

Source and additional information:

Flicker: European External Action Service URL