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Let me start with a sad note. This morning we started the meeting sharing the information we got from Mali, from Bamako. Last night there was an attack, with several victims, among those some European Union citizens. We all express our condolences to the loved ones of all the victims of this attack. And a special thought for our colleagues because one of the victims, a Belgian citizen, was a security officer at the European Union Delegation in Bamako. This shows very clearly that we have to stay focused on all the threats and the challenges we have around us, starting from the situation also in Mali and in the Sahel. We will have a discussion on Africa during the next Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 16 March.
Yesterday as you know we discussed Libya and Ukraine, the two main security - not only security - challenges we have in our immediate neighbourhood both East and South, and we stressed how important it is that we work together, united on all dimensions of our neighbourhood.
Today we started with the meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries. We discussed with them the common foreign policy and regional challenges as well as the opportunities we have, following up on our discussions yesterday on Libya and on Ukraine. We discussed also the situation in their region, in the Western Balkans, around Turkey, and we touched on the enlargement process a little bit.
We then had a discussion on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, stressing the need for having the process of consultation with full ownership not only of the European Union Member States and institutions but also of our partners in the East and in the South. We will have now some a broad consultation on what has worked, what needs to be improved, in our partnership with our neighbourhood, because it’s very clear that the situation both in the East and South of the European Union, is posing some question marks to all of us, and we feel it is time to develop stronger political partnerships with countries in our region.
Finally, we focused a lot on the Riga Eastern Partnership summit that is coming up in a few months. We agreed on the need to have steady and good preparation that we started today, both in the political message of commitment of the European Union to all six of our partners in the East and on concrete steps we can take.
I would maybe leave this more to the Minister, to Edgards, as the host as the Latvian Presidency of the Summit itself, and I would stop here.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I100088