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We have today a European Council for which the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday prepared the points on international relations.
First of all, with a tougher stance on DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]. We adopted on Monday tougher sanctions on North Korea, the toughest sanction regime the European Union has in the world - indeed, most of the pressure on Pyongyang comes from our side. We hope that this can lead to a peaceful negotiation on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. I will debrief the Heads of State and Government on our work and I also will meet the Foreign Minister of South Korea [Kang Kyung-wha] tomorrow on this, here in Brussels.
We will also discuss about the Iran nuclear deal. As you have seen, the 28 Member States through the Foreign Ministers have released a very strong and clear message. We stay fully committed to the complete implementation by all sides of the Iran nuclear deal. We see this as a key security interest for the European Union and for the region, and we see the same approach from other partners in the world, from Russia to China, to the African Union, to the rest of the international community.
So, I will expect Heads of State and Government to endorse this position and strengthen it, in the sense of delivering a clear message of continuity on the European Union side and the expectation that the deal will be preserved.
We will also have a discussion on Turkey, covering different aspects of our relation.
There will also be an important point on security and defence. You remember the European Council in June decided to move forward on the European Union of defence. We have been working with Defence Ministers and Foreign Ministers; we are in a position today to report that we are ready, in November, to have a notification on the Permanent Structured Cooperation that will be then launched by December – so, within one year after we started to prepare it. So, this will be also a point on the agenda of Heads of State or Government.
Last but not least, an update on migration, where our external action has brought the first results in these last months, especially during the summer. We have seen the numbers of crossings in the Mediterranean Sea coming down. This is thanks to the European Union engagement, especially together with the International Organisation for Migration [IOM] and the UNHCR, inside Libya, at sea, but also in the Sahel, in Niger. And thanks to our support, the IOM has organised around 14,000 assisted voluntary returns from Libya and from Niger to the countries of origin of the migrants.
This is a trend that now needs to be consolidated: partnership with Africa; investments – private investments with the launch of the External Investment Plan that we have launched to help private investors to go to fragile state in Africa; the African Union-European Union Summit that we will have in November. All of this needs now to be consolidated, the work continues and I expect from Member States strong support in that regard.
Link to the video: https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I145487