Press Release 38/2013
15 February 2013
The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union will meet in Brussels on 18 February. The agenda for the meeting includes the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood, the Middle East peace process, Iraq, Mali, and the EU’s Eastern Partnership. The nuclear test carried out by North Korea on 12 February is also on the agenda. Finland will be represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.
With regard to the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood, the main topic of discussion by the Foreign Affairs Council is the situation in Syria. The EU is deliberating on strengthening its measures for the peaceful support of the Syrian opposition and for protecting civilians. The current situation in Tunisia will also be discussed.
As to The Middle East peace process, the debate will focus on measures the EU can take to promote the return to peace negotiations. The Foreign Affairs Council will also discuss the present situation in Iraq and how the EU can best support stability and unity in the country.
The discussion concerning Mali will focus on the latest situation there and on the EU’s actions to support stabilisation of the region. The EU is about to launch a military training mission in Mali.
As to the EU’s Eastern Partnership, the Council will discuss the progress of reforms in the partner countries and the possibilities for the future of cooperation between the EU and partner countries. The discussion will pave the way for the EU Eastern Partnership Summit to take place in Vilnius in November 2013.
Foreign Minister Tuomioja will also take part in the Northern Dimension Ministerial Meeting that will be held in the sidelines. The EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland will be represented at the meeting. The Union’s High Representative Catherine Ashton will lead the meeting, where regional cooperation in the Northern regions will be discussed. The intention is for those present to hold a broad discussion on cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, Barents cooperation and the challenges facing development.
Additional information: Tarja Fernández, mobile tel. +358 40 590 9855; Katja Pehrman, Chief of Cabinet, mobile tel. +358 40 181 9257; Head of Unit Soili Mäkeläinen-Buhanist, mobile tel. +358 40 753 2528