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Mr David Lidington - Foreign and Commonwealth Office

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 23 May and I will attend the General Affairs Council on 24 May. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the General Affairs Council will be chaired by the Dutch Presidency. The meetings will be held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will be preceded by the annual EU-Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting. The FAC agenda will include the Syria / Iraq / counter Daesh regional strategy, the EU Global Strategy and external aspects of migration. Ms. Mogherini is expected to cover the Arctic and Libya in her opening remarks.

EU Eastern Partnership Ministerial

EU Foreign Ministers will meet with the Foreign Ministers of the six Eastern Partnership States (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) to review progress on the Eastern Partnership initiative since the EU-Eastern Partnership Summit held in Riga on 21-22 May 2015.

Syria / Iraq / counter Daesh regional strategy

The May Foreign Affairs Council will review of External Action Service (EEAS)/Commission programmes and projects undertaken within the framework of the March 2015 regional strategy for handling Syria, Iraq and the Daesh threat. This review will assess how the EU has been supporting political transition in Syria, political settlement in Iraq and efforts to defeat and degrade Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

The European Union Global Strategy

Over lunch the High Representative will update Ministers on the preparation of the European Union Global Strategy.

External aspects of migration

Ministers will exchange views on the external aspects of migration. We expect the focus of the discussion to be on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) activities to support the development of border security in Libya and the Sahel. Building the capacity of the Libyan coastguard is of particular importance. We will also use the opportunity to discuss progress on Valletta Action Plan implementation. With a range of high level international events this year, leading up to the UNGA High Level Event on Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees, there is an opportunity for the international community to build a sustainable global response to large population movements and the issue of irregular migration, by placing an emphasis on global responsibility sharing, reducing large-scale irregular migration, and providing protection and humanitarian support to those who need it.

The Arctic

Following the recent publication of the Joint Communication on the Arctic, Ministers will discuss whether the EUs policy in the Arctic is appropriately focused. We also expect discussions on the EUs application for formal observer status at the Arctic Council.

Libya

Discussions will focus on the latest developments in the Libyan political process. The EEAS is planning for a possible civilian CSDP mission for Libya. We will press the EU to develop a realistic and achievable offer based on the needs of the Government of National Accord and the situation on the ground. We are aiming for progress towards agreeing an updated mandate for EUNAVFOR MED (Operation Sophia), to include capacity-building for the Libyan Coastguard. The Vienna Ministerial on 16 May underlined international support for the Libyan Political Agreement, Presidency Council and Government of National Accord.

General Affairs Council

The General Affairs Council (GAC) on 24 May is expected to focus on Rule of Law and preparation of the June European Council.

Rule of Law

The GAC will conduct its annual dialogue on the rule of law, focusing on the issue of the integration of migrants.

Preparation of the June European Council

The GAC will prepare the agenda for the 28-29 June European Council, which the Prime Minister will attend.

 


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