Foreign Affairs Council
Southern neighbourhood, Africa and Eastern Partnership on agenda
By Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt | Friday 20 July 2012
The member states’ foreign ministers will discuss the latest events in the Southern neighbourhood, Africa and the Eastern Partnership when they meet in Brussels, on 23 July. While a special attention will be devoted to the worsening situation in Syria (see
Europolitics4470), ministers will also take stock of recent developments in Africa.
The ministers are set to exchange views on the situation in Libya after the elections for the General National Congress of 7 July, and discuss EU assistance to the country. They will welcome what they consider to be “a significant milestone” in the country’s transition, after preliminary reports from an EU electoral assessment team that the elections were efficiently administered, pluralistic and overall peaceful. Ministers will reiterate their support to Tripoli and discuss ways to provide further assistance to the Maghreb country, in particular in reinforcing border management.
On the one-year anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, ministers will debate the state of its negotiations with Sudan, as the 2 August deadline for solving the remaining issues between the two nations is approaching. In its conclusions, the Council will reiterate its support for the implementation of the African Union road map and urge both sides to find a solution to post-secession conflicts as soon as possible.
The Council will also discuss the situation in Mali after the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2056, on 5 July, threatening to adopt sanctions against the country’s al-Qaeda-linked fighters. It will reiterate its condemnation of the 22 March coup d’état and recall its strong support to the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS, together with the African Union, has been urging the UN to back a proposed intervention force of 3,200 individuals, which would include police, military and civilians.
Another item on the ministers’ agenda will be the EU’s relations with its Eastern partners, ahead of a ministerial meeting, on 23 July. Following the Foreign Affairs Council, the ministers will meet their counterparts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and endorse the Eastern Partnership road map. The ministerial meeting is expected to allow debates on several key issues, such as the next steps to adopt in order to enhance cooperation, or the contribution of civil society to the achievement of Eastern Partnership goals.
Finally, the 27 ministers will hold a debate on how EU foreign policy can support the Union’s external energy policy, bearing in mind that global energy demand is set to rise by more than 50% by 2030. They will exchange views on ways to link energy issues and wider efforts to promote peace as well as ways to increase transparency between EU institutions and member states in this area.