Check against delivery!
We are having today an Informal Meeting of the Development Ministers. It is a very important one: one year after the adoption of the Agenda 2030 in New York and one week before going to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) ministerial.
We will discuss with the development ministers of all the EU Member States our own policy on development and our new ways of doing development policies. We will discuss how to strengthen the link that we are developing between the policies we do on development as such and the policies we do for instance to promote peace and security, especially in parts like Africa where it is very hard to bring sustainable development if not in conditions of peace and security as the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) themselves point out; and our concrete way to support security and development.
We will discuss also the link between our work on migration and our work on development. I will discuss with the ministers the External Investment Plan that the European Commission is going to adopt this week in Strasbourg as part of bringing in to the development objectives the private sector and the capacity for us to implement some of the economic projects that are key to the SDGs as well.
All in all, we will also discuss the implementation of the Global Strategy, a process that I have launched already with the Foreign Ministers. I am going to do so also with the Defence Ministers, especially when it comes to security and defence. Obviously today with the Development Ministers it will be a very important moment to discuss a new consensus on development and the Post-Cotonu Agenda. So we will have a full day of work. All ministers are here. This being an informal meeting, there will be no formal declaration, but I am sure we will forge the way ahead on our policies concerning the old related issues to development and again with a special focus on Africa in these times.
Q. On Turkey: has the EU heard about the suspension of the 28 mayors in Turkey and will the EU ask for their restitution? Apparently, they were suspended for presumed links with the PKK.
As regards Turkey, I was just there on Friday. I have seen reports about the clashes in these municipalities in the East and the South-East of the country. As you know, the European Union recognises the PKK as a terrorist organisation and I had the chance in Ankara last week to say that for us the way is the complete stop of violence, complete stop of terrorist attacks and the beginning of political process on the Kurdish issue.
On the issue of the mayors in particular I have seen that the 28 elected mayors have been suspended and trustees appointed, and I would expect and I am confident that the population of these municipalities would be in condition to elect new mayors according of the laws of Turkey itself soon. Obviously we expect all steps to be taken in accordance to the rule of law as we have discussed with the Turkish authorities just a few days ago.
Q. On Syria: today the ceasefire should start being implemented. Is the EU worried that they will actually hold on given some groups like Ahrar al-Sham has already said that some other opposition have said the agreement has deficiencies?
I have already said in the last hours that we see this agreement as a starting point that has to be implemented and that can lead to finally political talks and political transition which means peace and also to humanitarian aid within the country.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I125899