European Union External Action

Mogherini announces Syria conference on April 5, welcomes rapid progress in security and defence

06/03/2017 - 22:28
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The European Union will host a major international conference on Syria on April 5, entitled 'Syria and the region: supporting the future of Syria and the region', co-chairing the event with the United Nation, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom, High Representative Federica Mogherini announced today.

"This is part of the efforts, the work that the European Union is doing on Syria, with our regional initiative, our round of talks with eight of the regional players. And we hope that the Brussels conference on 5 April can support strongly the UN work on the political track, but also try to establish a regional and international framework for that support, for the humanitarian work, but also for looking at the future, how we can, together, support the future of Syria and the region," Mogherini said after chairing the monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers. 
 
At the start of the day, the High Representative chaired a joint session of foreign and defence ministers.

"Six months ago, we started to work on strengthening our common work on security and defence in the European Union and exactly six months after - today - we have taken the first operational decisions. That was done unanimously, by consensus, at 28, with a lot of support, thanks to a very constructive and active approach of all Member States," she said.

Ministers agreed to establish a military planning and conduct capability which will command the EU non-executive military missions. They also decided to create a civilian/military joint support coordination cell that will increase synergies between the EU's civilian and military work. 

Progress was also made on a number of other issues, including Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the field of defence, a Coordinated Annual Revue on Defence (CARD) that will help Member States to work better together when it comes to defence budgets, and the European Defence Action Plan, including the defence fund. 

Ministers also discussed the Western Balkans and the messages the High Representative passed on her visit to the region last week. EU leaders will take the discussions forward at their Summit on Thursday and Friday.

Ministers also hosted the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, for an informal exchange of views on the economic and social reform agenda of the country, the rule of law and human rights, bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism, security and migration, as well as the main regional issues - the Middle East Peace Process, Syria and Libya. 

Mogherini updated ministers on the most recent work on migration ahead of the Summit of EU leaders later this week. 

"The work is proceeding well – there is, as we all know, no magical solution to the issue of managing migration flows, but we see a series of encouraging results of our determined work," the High Representative said. 

Ministers also reaffirmed their consolidated, common, united position on the Middle East peace process. The EEAS is preparing for an Association Council with Israel, as well as for high level meetings with the Palestinian Authority.