During the Foreign Affairs Council today, the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and EU Foreign Ministers discussed a number of pressing issues. They condemned the violent attacks in Sudan in early June, which resulted in killing and injuring of many peaceful civilian protesters, as well as sexual and gender-based violence. The EU called for immediate cessation of violence against the Sudanese people and all human rights violations and abuses to be investigated in an independent and transparent manner.
Following the formation of new government in Moldova, the ministers reiterated the EU's readiness to work with a reform-committed government, on the basis of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement. On Venezuela, the ministers underlined their concern as the political and humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. They reiterated their call for a political, negotiated solution within the framework of the Venezuelan constitution that would ultimately lead to free, fair and credible presidential elections and their support for efforts in this direction.
High Representative Mogherini also reminded of the first anniversary of the Prespa agreement, signed by Greece and North Macedonia on 17 June 2018, and said she hoped Member States would acknowledge the steps forward taken in the Western Balkans ‘in particular in the coming days with an important decision to be taken on opening the negotiations of accession for both Albania and North Macedonia’.
Foreign Ministers also exchanged views with the Foreign Minister of Jordan, Ayman Safadi. They focused on latest developments in the region, including Syria, tensions in the Gulf region, and prospects for the Middle East Peace Process.
The Council adopted conclusions on a number of important foreign policy priorities:
EU foreign ministers and defence ministers today discussed the implementation of the EU Global Strategy, following its presentation by the High Representative Federica Mogherini. In this regard, the ministers adopted conclusions on EU action to strengthen rules-based multilateralism. The Council highlighted that the EU's interest lies in a multilateral system that is rules and rights-based, which protects the global commons, promotes shared public goods, and delivers benefits for citizens in Europe and across the globe.
The EU aims at an effective multilateral system that delivers results in tackling today's and tomorrow's global challenges. Strengthening the multilateral system will be based on three strands of action:
1. Upholding international norms and agreements,
2. Extending multilateralism to new global realities, and
3. Reform: making multilateral organisations fit for purpose.
The Council also outlined concrete steps for the EU and its Member States to implement these objectives. These range from continuing support for global partnerships, to reinforcing EU’s role in international security, and leveraging funding to the multilateral system.
The ministers also adopted conclusions on security and defence in the context of the EU Global Strategy, recognising ground-breaking steps forward in the area of security and defence. They underlined the need to maintain the momentum through continued engagement of Member States and EU institutions. By addressing Europe's current and future security and defence needs, the EU is enhancing its capacity to act as a security provider, its strategic autonomy and its ability to cooperate with partners. The Council calls for further strategic reflection on these matters with the aim of taking more responsibility for European security with partners wherever possible and alone when necessary, in the pursuit of EU values and interests.
Today, the Council adopted conclusions on a new EU strategy on Central Asia, underlining the EU and Central Asia are bound by strong mutual interests and are now closer than ever. The Council reaffirmed its commitment to conclude and implement ambitious, broad-based and mutually beneficial Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (EPCAs) with the interested countries of the region. These new-generation agreements will remain a cornerstone of EU engagement with Central Asia.