Press release 156/2013
19 July 2013
The EU Foreign Affairs Council is set to convene in Brussels on 22 July. The agenda for the meeting covers the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood and Eastern Partnership, the Middle East peace process, Africa, human rights, and water diplomacy. Finland will be represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.
The Foreign Affairs Council’s discussions on the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood will focus on the current situation in Egypt and on the EU’s efforts to support democratic development in the country. The ministers will also discuss Syria.
The Council’s discussions on Africa will focus on the situation in Somalia, the Great Lakes Region and Mali. Discussions on Somalia will consider not only the current situation in the country, but also preparations for the international Somalia Conference in Brussels in September. As regards the Great Lakes Regions, ministers will consider how the EU could best support development in this area. Discussions on Mali will focus on the current situation in the country as well as on European Union actions in Mali.
The ministers’ discussions on human rights will mark the first anniversary of the EU’s human rights and democracy strategy and action plan. The aim will be to highlight the importance of strategy implementation and the mainstreaming of human rights in all EU external relations activities.
The Council meeting will also address issues of water security and the EU’s plans to develop its water diplomacy.
Over lunch the Foreign Ministers will discuss the Middle East peace process and Lebanon. In both cases the focus is on the current situation.
Discussions on EU’s Eastern Partnership will focus on preparations for the Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers’ meeting later the same day in Brussels and on recent progress in the partnership.
Following the Foreign Council meeting, the fourth Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the Eastern Partnership will be attended by the Foreign Ministers of six partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaidjan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus). Finland will be represented by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. Discussions here will focus on the forthcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November. With the forthcoming summit in mind, foreign ministers will discuss the partnership achievements so far, particularly the processes towards an Association Agreement among partner countries, as well as the future of partnership.
Further information: European correspondent Tarja Fernández, tel. +358 40 590 9855, Päivi Harju-Heikkilä, Press Attaché to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, tel. +358 40 749 2687, Commercial Counsellor Mia Hurtta, tel. +358 40 573 3206