No 154 - 14th July 2017
EU Leaders attend G20 Summit
G20 leaders met in Hamburg on 7-8 July including the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The EU's priorities at the Summit were presented in a joint letter to EU heads of state or government - they include the G20's role in making the global economy work for all, the importance of a rules-based multilateral trading system, the fight against terrorism, addressing the causes of migration, and the economic benefits of climate action. The EU was encouraged that G20 leaders were committed to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and agreed that the Agreement is "irreversible".
HR/VP meets with Russian Foreign Minister
HR/VP Federica Mogherini met with Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Brussels on 11 July. The two diplomats discussed foreign policy issues including Syria and the Middle East, the Western Balkans, North Korea, the situation in the east of Ukraine and Crimea, and some bilateral matters. Mogherini said that although "[i]t is clear we do not share the same positions on everything … our dialogue is constant and it is important." The EU and Russia agreed that the ceasefire in south-west Syria is a first step towards a political solution to the crisis and reiterated their commitment to the Middle East Peace Process in the Quartet and the Iran nuclear deal. The HR/VP restated that the full implementation of the Minsk Agreement in Ukraine is essential for the EU and raised concerns about policies on civil society and human rights in Russia. However, the two agreed to increase the level of contacts between the EU and Russia. "The European Union is ready to build bridges when it comes to links between our societies," the HR/VP said.
HR/VP Federica Mogherini's full remarks following the meeting can be read here.
EU-Ukraine Summit in Kyiv
The 19th Summit between the EU and Ukraine took place on 12-13 July in Kyiv. The EU was represented by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. Since the last summit in November 2016 significant progress has been made; on 11 July the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, was ratified with full entry into force on 1 September 2017, and last month Ukrainian citizens were grated visa free travel in the Schengen area. At the summit, the leaders assessed the Ukraine's implementation of reform efforts in areas including anti-corruption and the judiciary which were achieved despite security challenges caused by the ongoing conflict in the east of Ukraine. The EU side stressed the importance of continuing efforts and dedicated support for Ukraine. They announced the preparation of €200 million of priority programmes for 2017 to support conflict affected areas, energy efficiency programmes, public finance management, key reforms and the implementation of the Association Agreement. The EU also reiterated its continued support to Ukraine's unity and sovereignty and the full implementation of the Minsk Agreement.
Update on Brexit Negotiations
The first round of Article 50 negotiations between the European Commission and the United Kingdom took place on 19 June resulting in the "Terms of Reference" for negotiations. Those negotiations also established three working groups on citizen's rights, financial settlement and other separation issues, as well as a dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland. Once the European Council decides that sufficient progress has been made on the first phase of negotiations, discussions on the future EU-UK relationship will begin.
Pascal Lamy to visit New Zealand as Post-Contonou High-Level Facilitator
Pascal Lamy, former European Commissioner will be in Wellington at the end of July in his capacity as Post-Contonou High-Level Facilitator. He will be travelling around the Pacific in July to engage with Pacific counterparts ahead of negotiations for a successor to the current African Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-EU partnership agreement. During his visit to Wellington he will be giving a speech to the NZIIA entitled "Does one-size-fit-all? European thoughts about a Post-Contonou Agreement in the Pacific". More details will be available soon here.
2018 Internships at the EU Delegations
The European External Action Service has improved its Traineeship scheme for 2018. The new changes will ensure that the Traineeship scheme provides equal access to internships to all qualified candidates no matter their background. EU Traineeships offer interns insights into the processes and policies of the the EU while giving them practical experience - an opportunity to put academic theory into practice. Applications for 2018 traineeships at the EEAS open next week and can be made online.
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