European Union

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  1. 12/05/2017

    Strengthening European Defence and Security

    In March EU defence and foreign ministers agreed to create the Military Planning Conduct and Capability facility that will be in charge of EU civilian and military training missions. What are the next steps in EU defence cooperation that are being prepared for leaders to discuss and agree on this year?

    The work we are doing to strengthen European defence and security is moving ahead in a very concrete, constructive and united manner. We launched this process at the end of last June with the adoption of the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy and have since proceeded fast with its implementation on security and defence issues: as you said, in March we already made the first operational steps, with the decision to establish a military planning and conduct capability (MPCC). During the 60th anniversary of the Treaties in Rome, the EU leaders committed to be consistent and move forward on European defence and security cooperation. Now we have a set of initiatives almost ready to be submitted to the European council, within provisions of the treaties that so far have never been used. We could launch a trial run of a coordinated annual review on defence in the second half of this year, to help Member States to work better together when it comes to defence investment planning. Then, we could move forward on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), that will allow groups of member states ready and willing to do it to cooperate closely on military projects and initiatives. Finally, we are working to remove some of the obstacles that have not allowed so far to deploy the Battlegroups, even when there would have been a need or opportunity to do so. All this can come only if member states will be consistent and will agree on a higher level of common funding and predictability, during the review of the so called Athena mechanism next semester.

    Do you see any hope of breaking the deadlock in Ukraine this year? Your recent visit to Russia did not bring any tangible achievements in this regard. What could be the necessary developments that would help break the stalemate and solve the conflict before it is frozen for years?

    My visit to Moscow was important not only when it comes to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, but also for the other files where the European Union and Russia need to work together: the devastating war in Syria, to find peace between Israel and Palestine, implementing the Iran nuclear deal, Libya, Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula and the fight against terrorism are all other examples. There is no global power that can solve any of these challenges alone; only through cooperation can we stop the spread of instability. When it comes to the conflict in the east of Ukraine, we have the way forward, the way to resolve the situation through peaceful means and in full respect of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty: the Minsk agreements. What is needed first of all is political will to fully implement the ceasefire, to withdraw heavy weapons and to improve the security situation. The European Union and its Member States will continue to actively support the agreements. We are the biggest contributors to the OSCE mission that is monitoring the situation on the ground. And we have economic sanctions on Russia that will stay in place until the full implementation of the Minsk agreements: part of our approach to solving the conflict. Having said that, it's worth reminding that we closely work with the Ukrainian government and support the reform efforts of the Ukrainian government and will continue to do so.

    In Syria Russia together with Iran and the Syrian regime seems to pursuing a military victory against the rebels. Is greater US military involvement necessary to counterbalance them, put a military solution out of sight and help advance peace talks? The EU is a big humanitarian donor to Syrian refugees and has vowed to contribute billions to the country´s reconstruction. What else could the EU do to help bring the conflict to an end?

    The conflict in Syria entered in its 7th year and Syrian civilians are the first victims. It's our top priority to put an end to this war, to help the Syrian people and for the world's interest. The EU firmly believes that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. What we need is a credible political solution to ensure peace and stability in Syria, as well as in the region. The EU has been a very active player in key areas. Politically, we have been supporting the UN-led political process, notably through our regional initiative and political dialogue with key regional players. We aim at identifying the common ground on the basis of which they could facilitate a solution, that has to be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned but that can they can accompany. We also convened the wider international community to reconfirm our continued joint support to Syrians, including for the post conflict period, and for a political solution negotiated under the UN auspices, with the Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region we hosted at the beginning of April. Our work is also on the humanitarian side. We have been the leading donor since the outbreak of the crisis with over EUR 9.4 billion allocated in humanitarian and development assistance for Syrian refugees inside Syria and in the surrounding countries. Political talks need to progress under the UN lead, supported by the effective implementation of the ceasefire on the ground and unhindered access of humanitarian aid. We, the European Union, will continue both our crucial political and humanitarian support to help Syria and its people to find peace.

    What do you expect from Estonia´s presidency in the European Council in the sphere of common foreign and security policy?

    I am sure that we will work very well and very closely with the Estonian presidency. We had the opportunity to welcome Prime Minister Ratas and his government to Brussels only last week. We have already started to work together on a shared set of priorities. In the field of foreign and security policy, just three examples of what will require strong determination and a capacity to coordinate, three issues that will feature prominently on our EU agenda during the Estonian presidency are the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, the EU - Africa Summit in the Ivory Coast, and the work on defence. On all of these files, and many others, I count on the energy and the determination of the Estonian presidency to accompany in the best and most effective way the work of our Union, in true teamwork. I am really looking forward to working together with the people and the institutions of Estonia - and in particular with Prime Minister Ratas, Foreign Minister Mikser and Defence Minister Tsahkna - to deliver good results for our European citizens.

    You can find out more on the EU's work on Security and Defence here.

  2. 05/05/2017

    Interactive debate on State of EU

    On 5 May High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, addresses the opportunities and challenges facing the EU's foreign and security policy, as presented in the EU Global Strategy, during an interactive session on "Cooperation and Partnerships, the European Way". The speech at 16h15 is web streamed live.

  3. 28/04/2017

    Mogherini leads frank ministerial discussions on future relations with Turkey

    High Representative Federica Mogherini today led what she described as "a long and frank, open exchange" by EU foreign ministers on future relations with Turkey.

    The EU respects the result of the recent referendum, but expects that the constitutional changes will be carried out based on the Venice Commission recommendations and the observation of the OSCE/ODIHR, and in an inclusive manner, she said at a press conference after the informal EU foreign ministers' meeting in Malta.

    "The European Union has a clear interest in a stable, secure, economically successful and democratic Turkey which is a relevant partner, a relevant player on many different issues. Our intention is not and will never be of doing anything that could damage Turkey or the Turkish people. On the contrary, we are seeking cooperation  - constructive cooperation on many different things - for the benefits of our citizens respectively: all Turkish citizens, all European Union citizens," Mogherini said.

    Turkey's EU accession process is not suspended, but there is currently no work ongoing on opening new negotiation chapters, she explained.

    "If Turkey is interested in accession negotiations, it knows very well what it implies, especially in the field of human rights, rule of law, democracy, fundamental freedoms including media freedom, obviously the death penalty, and the respect of international law and the principle of good neighbourly relations," she said.

    The EU will discuss with Turkish interlocutors the way forward, "from our side in a very frank, open, constructive, serious, but serene manner", stressed Mogherini, who also held a bilateral meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu in the margins of ministerial meeting.

    The EU ministers had a working session with their counterparts from the candidate countries on the EU Global Strategy, and Mogherini debriefed them on Thursday's meeting of defence ministers.

    The EU Ministers also discussed how the EU can help Europeans manage the effects of globalisation and gain the maximum benefits from it.

    "We have exchanged in details about that, sharing the view that we have to use even more our common Union, to bring the European interest and agenda and values also on the global scene, using our European Union to strengthen our impact on globalisation," the High Representative concluded.

    Link to the full remarks:

    https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/25302/remarks-high-representativevice-president-federica-mogherini-joint-press-conference-minister_en

    Links to the videos:

    https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I137227

    https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I137228

  4. 24/04/2017

    HRVP visits China and India to reaffirm close ties on Global Security

    The HRVP is visiting China and India to reaffirm close ties with these important partners and open up new areas for future cooperation. 

    EU – China cooperation "has never been so important" said the HRVP during her visit to Beijing. Chairing the EU-China Strategic Dialogue alongside the Chinese State Councillor, Yang Jiechi, Mogherini highlighted the importance of working closely to resolve the current crisis in Syria as well as the need to mobilise international support for a peace process in Afghanistan, the crisis in Libya, Africa - where potential was identified for increased cooperation - and matters of security and defence, where Mogherini spoke about "creating further opportunities [for the EU and China] to work together on challenges related to peacekeeping, counter-piracy and counter-terrorism".

    While in China Federica Mogherini also spoke to students at Tsinghua University in Beijing, referring to the 30 years of the Erasmus programme and the fact that "300 students and Professors have moved between China and Europe in the last two years alone." She stressed the need for all of us, and particularly for global powers like the European Union and China, to engage: to engage constructively in world affairs, the need to look for win-win solutions, and the importance of rules, and of building a rules-based global order.

    Isolation cannot solve any of the issues of our time, said Mogherini. "No crisis is far enough in a globalised world – a world of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, where terrorist groups recruit across continents through the internet. There are no boundaries; there is no far-away place in the world of today." Instead, global powers such as the European Union and China have a responsibility to engage on crucial issues such as ending the war Syria, the situation in the Korean Peninsula and Climate Change and to promote and sustain a rules based order.

    She concluded by saying: "We are global powers with global responsibilities – responsibilities that I believe we can fulfil if we work together. I have to tell you that these two days of meetings here have been extremely reassuring for me in terms of seeing a common ground for further cooperation in this direction between the European Union and China."

    On her visit to New Dlehi the HRVP held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, and the Minister of State for External Affairs, M J Akbar. Mogherini also opened the EU@60 Treaty of Rome Exhibition at the Italian Institute of Culture as part of the celebrations around the 60th anniversary of the European Union.

    The visit provided an opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues: from the regional and international crises we collectively face to free and fair trade, as well as on matters of security and defence – notably on maritime security.  In an interview with The Times of India ahead of her visit, Mogherini stressed the need to intensify cooperation in view of the magnitude of the challenges ahead, whilst reflecting on the already close partnership of the European Union and India in many areas including intensive cooperation on counter terrorism to joint efforts in the fields of sustainable development and climate change. Whether it is in response to threats from radicalisation and terrorism, regional instability and conflict, or global warming – "global issues require common responses", she said.

     In many ways the EU and India are natural partners, sharing common values and interest such as democracy, multilateralism, free and fair trade and sustainable development. Closer cooperation between the European Union and India holds great opportunities.

     With work ongoing to conclude a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement, the EU accounts for 13.5% of India’s overall trade, which makes it the country's largest trading partner. Mogherini said that even after the UK leaves the European Union, the EU will remain "the most relevant partner for India [… and] will continue to be a global security provider, the biggest market on earth, the largest development donor". "We will continue to be a global power and a reliable partner for our friends around the world, including India."

     Building on the 13th EU-India Summit in Brussels in 2016 and ahead of the 14th bilateral India-EU Summit to be held in New Delhi later this year, the EU and India both expressed a strong desire to further strengthen and deepen their bilateral relations, both on an institutional level, extending political and institutional cooperation, and economic level, deepening trade links and integration by exploring the possibilities to conclude a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement to further deepen the ties between the world's largest democracy and the world's biggest common market.

     

    The HRVP's trip to Asia is an example of how the EU is engagign with major Lgobal Powers to provide global seucirty. This is why partnership is at the core of the EU Global Strategy.

    Find out more

     

    EU Global Strategy

    https://europa.eu/globalstrategy/en/priorities-eu-global-strategy

     

    China

    Link to the video: https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I137077

    Link to speech in full: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/24859/speech-h...

    India

    HRVP Federica Mogherini holds bilateral meetings during her visit to India

    EU-India relations, fact sheet

    Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan

  5. 04/04/2017

    The Future of Syria

    EU actions supporting Syrians and host communities

    The conflict in Syria is now in its sixth year, and has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two. Millions of people are in need of emergency assistance such as medical and food assistance, water and shelter.

    In December 2016 the EU's High Representative Federica Mogherini launched the EU Regional Initiative for Syria. The initiative will bring together countries from the region to discuss post-conflict governance and look at how to approach reconciliation and reconstruction, once a political transition is firmly underway. This initiative could create conditions for successful intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva, guided by the UN and strongly supported by the EU.

    The EU is hosting an international conference on the Future of Syria and the Region in Brussels in 2017, building on the 2016 London Conference and Kuwait conferences in 2013-2015. The conference will address how the international community approaches the political process towards transition, humanitarian aid and development assistance.

    The EU is the leading donor responding to the Syrian crisis, with €9 billion from the EU and Member States collectively spent since the start of the conflict in humanitarian and recovery assistance to Syrians in the country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.

  6. 31/03/2017

    Mogherini: In partnership with NATO, the EU continues to strengthen its defence and security profile

    The European Union continues to strengthen its defence and security profile, in partnership with NATO, said High Representative Federica Mogherini today upon arrival at a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers. She also stressed that while the UK contribution to the EU security and defence is important, but not that big to create a challenge for the EU in the future.

    "I have seen that there have been considerations about how the UK leaving the European Union might affect our capacity to be a defence and security provider...Looking at the numbers, the UK contributes today only 3% of the civilian capabilities in our EU operations and missions and 5% to the military ones. So for sure it is a valued contribution, but for sure a contribution without which the European Union's defence and security work can continue perfectly well," she said.

    "I wish we could and we will establish a good and solid security and defence cooperation also after Brexit....But the numbers with which the UK is currently contributing  to the European Union's defence and security operations and missions is not that big as to create a challenge for the European Union in the future. So leverage in that respect will be really minimal on their side," she added.

    In the meantime the EU is strengthening its cooperation with NATO, on the basis of the Warsaw Declaration from last July. Federica Mogherini highlighted "the excellent EU-NATO cooperation in all different fields", adding the meeting would be "an occasion to continue our common work on the many different challenges we have, but also some opportunities to strengthen the security of our citizens." 

    Mogherini emphasised: "The EU and NATO have established now in the last year a very solid partnership and cooperation. We have 42 single projects we are implementing on a daily basis, so - as also my friend Jens Stoltenberg (NATO Secretary General) always says - the partnership between NATO and the European Union has never been as effective, practical and good as it is today. We will continue our work in this direction today."

    "We are working daily on maritime security, both in the Mediterranean and in the Aegean Sea. We are working on cyber threats, on hybrid threats and exchanging more and more practices on cooperation. Obviously we are two different organisations, we have two different natures I would say. NATO is a military alliance and the European Union is a regional organisation, but we share the same security area and we have different instruments that can complement each other very well."

    Finally, the High Representative briefly touched upon on cooperation with the new US administration and the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who attended NATO Ministerial for the first time: "We continue to work together. Contacts and work with the US administration on the European Union side are good, frequent. There are things on which we have different positions, on trade, on climate, on other things, but there are other issues on which we work well together and we will continue to work well together."

    Read more on what the EU does to kreep citizens safe and strengthen Security & Defence.

  7. 20/03/2017

    Only non-proliferation can guarantee global security, Mogherini says

    Global security can only be achieved through non-proliferation and disarmament, and a new arms race is not the solution to any of the security threats the world faces, High Representative Federica Mogherini said today at the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington, DC.

    “The Cold-War era is over. The world today is much more complex, much more fragile than 25 years ago. The number of nuclear states has risen – so that there is not just one “nuclear balance” to take into account, but several and overlapping nuclear balances,” the High Representative said.

    “So, the logic of deterrence could easily become outdated – and this would definitely be the case, if a criminal or terrorist group had to acquire a weapon of mass destruction. In a fragile world like ours, a nuclear balance of terror would be incredibly dangerous. And the only way to make our citizens more secure runs through non-proliferation and disarmament. The only way forward is to invest together in a strong system of truly global rules.”

    As set out in her Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy, Mogherini stressed that the EU will continue to be a strong, consistent, reliable, predictable partner, for all those who believe that security comes through non-proliferation. The EU will keep working to preserve, strengthen and expand the current rules. Recent tests by North Korea have underlined how important it is that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) comes into effect.

    The High Representative also reiterated the importance of the nuclear deal with Iran, on which she herself chaired the negotiations. “For five times now, five times, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has certified Iran’s compliance with the deal, and it is constantly monitoring Iran’s nuclear programme.”

    “So let me state it very clearly, as I always do: It is an agreement that belongs to the entire international community and that the Europeans are determined to preserve because its full and strict implementation is key to our own security. Multilateral diplomacy has achieved something impossible to achieve by any other means - through unity. There is simply no doubt about it. And this is the path we Europeans want to continue to follow.”

    Likewise, Mogherini stressed that a renewed confrontation among world powers will not serve anyone’s interest. The answer to today’s instability and a shifting global balance of power, she said, is more cooperation and stronger global governance, something the EU is working tirelessly to achieve.

    “What is at stake is global security. We must have learned something from our tragic history. The world today is a dangerous place – a very dangerous place. It is definitely not the time to play with fire. What is at stake is our own security. That is why you will always find the European Union engaged and committed, for nuclear non-proliferation.”

  8. 14/03/2017

    Towards an even stronger EU role in Syria

    The European Union plans to step up its support for Syria including support for post-war reconstruction. The proposal, presented by the EU's High Representative for foreign and security policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, comes as Syria suffers its 6th year of conflict and following the resumption of the UN-led talks in Geneva, supported by a ceasefire mechanism established as a result of the Astana talks.

    "There is much the European Union is ready to do, together with the United Nations and the rest of the international community." High Representative Mogherini said.

    "The Syrians want peace, … , they want and deserve to finally have the possibility to shape the future of their country. We are at their side to support the future of Syria."

    The plan assesses the risks and threats posed by the continuation of the war to the EU's core interests, regional and global stability, and sets out of clear objectives for the EU's policy for Syria.

    Supporting the resilience of states and societies (hyperlink) in countries of our region is a top priority of the EU Global Strategy. The aim is to increase the ability to withstand and recover from crisis and conflict and help people build a future in their own country.  

    Since the outbreak of the conflict the EU has mobilised more than €9.4 billion in aid, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance and resilience support to the Syrian people and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. The Union will continue its intensive support for the UN political process in Syria and work to strengthen the Syrian political opposition and civil society, while remaining the world's leading donor to the Syrian crisis.

    These plans go hand in hand with the Brussels Conference "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” on 5 April 2017 that the EU will co-chair with the UN, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

     

    See Also:

    Video Joint Communication

    Joint Communication

    Press release

    Fact sheet

    Video Q&A

  9. 13/02/2017

    Latest analysis on the EU Global Strategy

    Read the latest opinions on the EU Global Strategy and its implementation. The Strategy was launched to make Europe resilient in the face of crisis and preserve Europe's core interests and values.  Find out more about the European Global Strategy in our analysis section.

  10. 10/02/2017

    Seminar Europe: What's next?

    On 10th February, foreign policy experts took part in "Seminar Europe: What's next?" – a debate on the EU Global Strategy and EU-US relations hosted by the European Commission Representation in Poland. Alfredo Conte, Head of the Strategic Planning Division at the European External Action Service, also joined the debate.

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