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European Union External Action

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council

Good morning!

We have a new start this morning. Not only for Europe, as the Commission's slogan says, but also for Foreign Policy. We will start with the Ministers early this morning with a discussion on the working methods. If we want to be effective in the world, we need to be effective starting from here, from Brussels. So, we will try to share our common vision and make it owned by all the 28 Member States.

Obviously, we will discuss Ukraine which is the main issue on the agenda today. We will for sure discuss the sanctions, but not only the sanctions - because we all know very well that if we work only on that, but not on the other two tracks, even sanctions will not work. We need to work more on the reforms of Ukraine. We will start right know by meeting Foreign Minister Klimkin and we will sign an agreement that allows the European Union to start a mission to assist the Ukrainian authorities on restructuring the civilian security of the country. We will start the mission as of 1 December 2014. We will also discuss about the relations and the dialogue with Russia to get to a solution of the crisis.
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We will discuss about what is the best option today for reacting to the so-called elections of the 2nd November that we said are illegal and illegitimate and might require some reaction from the European Union side. We will have an open discussion about that, but as I said, sanctions in themselves are not a target, are not an objective, they can be an instrument if they come together with other measures. And I think it is time that the European Union and the Ministers concentrate also on the other issues that we have to build to have a complete strategy. And that means on one side asking the Ukrainians to commit again to reforms and to find ways to better to assist them on reforms, because the best way of getting ahead is making Ukraine a success and this has to be our focus mainly and also how to re-launch or how to engage in a dialogue with Russia as the European Union. These are going to be the three tracks of our discussions today with the Ministers.
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Then, the other big point on the agenda is the Middle East. I will report on my visit there. We will discuss what kind of European Union role can be there in order to re-launch the talks to get to the two States living in peace and security one next to the other. We will share our visions on that with the ministers in view of a European Union role. 
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I was personally in contact during the last days with Secretary Kerry, with President Abbas, with the Israeli side, with the Jordanians, to see what kind of diplomatic and political initiative can be there. Because we all know very well that what we need is not just a recognition, we need the building of a Palestinian state that can live next to Israeli one in peace and security. So our effort will be today, to understand in which way the European Union that has so much in terms of peace, history and knowledge internally, can do to re-put on track the political perspective that at the moment seems not to be there, but we need to have a political perspective for Palestine and also for Israel and for its security.
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Amongst the other points on the agenda, although I will try to make them short and leave it for a main discussion in the coming meetings, will be Ebola. We will have a report from Commissioner Stylianides who has just come back from the affected African countries. 
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We will also have a discussion on the Western Balkans, in particular on Bosnia-Herzegovina, and surely on Libya. On BiH we will look with the ministers at the different proposals that many of them raised, about asking a recommitment to the reform process, especially to the Compact for Growth. I find it particularly symbolic that we have that discussion today early afternoon, exactly at the same time when the new State Presidency is due to be sworn in. I think we will engage in that kind of process if the Member States agree, trying to bring Bosnia closer to the European path.
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All in all, we will try to have a more focused ministerial meeting today with a more political-oriented discussion, especially trying to get to some decisions for action together. I hope that we will come out of this meeting around 16:00 or 16:30 and meet you again, not only me, but also some of the ministers, with a clear and united message that will help us orientate our common action. Indeed, we need to reflect and share views but most of all we need to change the working method in the way that we can get out of here with a clear track of what we do together in the same direction.