We had a very intense, positive and informal discussion with the defence ministers of the 28 this morning. We were joined also by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and by our friend and colleague from the United Nations, the Deputy Secretary General Hervé Ladsous, for two important discussions.
On 1 February 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the explosive spread of the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern, requiring coordinated action to improve detection and accelerate work on a vaccine and better diagnostics for the disease
High Representative Federica Mogherini and Dutch Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert co-chaired on Friday the informal meeting of Defence Ministers in Amsterdam. The event, organized by the Netherlands EU presidency, was a fruitful occasion to take stock on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), with an eye on the ongoing military missions and operations in in the Horn of Africa, the Central African Republic and the Sahel region. The situation in Libya and Afghanistan were also part of the discussion.
The government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has notified several United Nations agencies that it intends to launch a 'satellite' later this month.
Any launch by the DPRK using ballistic missile technology would be in clear violation of several UN Security Council Resolutions. It would be a further provocation in the wake of the illegal nuclear test the DPRK conducted on 6 January and yet another unacceptable threat to international peace and security in the region and beyond.
The Syrian crisis has become the world's worst humanitarian disaster. The EU is the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis, with over €5 billion from the EU and Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance.
As the conflict in Syria drags on, life for Syrian refugees in Lebanon continues to become increasingly harsh. Lebanon hosts more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees – around one in four of its current population. With severe restrictions in accessing the labour market, Syrian refugee households are getting deeper into debt and finding it hard to access food and other basics. Preliminary findings of a UN report found that the number of refugee households living below the poverty line had almost doubled in the past year. EU humanitarian aid helps to support the ‘Lebanon cash consortium’ – a group of six humanitarian partners, including ACTED – to provide multi-purpose cash assistance to severely socio-economically vulnerable families.