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  1. 05/04/2017

    “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”

    Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” agrees holistic approach to the crisis and 5.6 billion euros in pledges for 2017

    Wednesday’s Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” agreed a holistic approach to handling the Syrian crisis, including massive financial assistance to respond to the humanitarian situation, backing for political work towards a resolution of the crisis, and a long-term vision to support a peaceful and stable future for Syria and the wider region, High Representative Federica Mogherini said today, at the end of the conference, which she hosted and co-chaired with the United Nations, Qatar, Norway, Kuwait, Germany and the United Kingdom.

    The conference, which brought together representatives of more than 70 countries and international organisations as well as international and Syrian civil society, agreed pledges for this year of 6 billion dollars (5.6 billion euros), including 1.3 billion euros from the EU, which remains by far the largest donor to the crisis. The EU also committed to maintain similar levels of support in the future, amounting to 560 million euros for 2018 for Lebanon, Jordan and for humanitarian work inside Syria, and to maintain its level of engagement also in 2019.

    “Today’s Conference has agreed on a holistic approach to the Syrian crisis,” the High Representative said. “The scale of suffering is such that a political solution is more urgent than ever before. Investment of political work in supporting a resolution to the crisis is key in securing a future, any future, but especially a free and democratic future for Syria and its people. Only Syrians can make the agreement that will secure peace… Sustainable and inclusive peace in Syria for the Syrians remains the objective of all our common work.”

    “The unity of the international community is today more not less relevant than ever and our common work is more not less urgent today, to bring humanitarian aid to Syrians and to put an end to the war.”

    The Conference condemned the use of chemical weapons by the government and Da’esh, as identified by the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism, and the attacks on Khan Sheikhun on Tuesday, and called for it to cease immediately.

    “There must be no doubt that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law or human rights – whoever they are - will be held accountable,” Mogherini stressed.

    “The international community is committed – today recommits – to working together to support a peaceful future for Syria and all Syrians in a sovereign, independent, unitary and territorially integral country where all Syrians will be able to live in peace and security.

    We committed to work for a sustainable inclusive peace while addressing the urgent humanitarian needs inside Syria and supporting the work for neighbouring countries in hosting over five million refugees,” the High Representative said.

    The Conference also highlighted that any lasting solution to the conflict has to be centred on meeting the democratic aspirations and needs of the Syrian people and providing safety and security for all Syrians, underlining that an end to the conflict can only be achieved through a genuine and inclusive political transition.

    Delegates gave their full support to the Geneva peace talks and commended and encouraged the excellent work of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. They also stressed the role of civil society, including women's organisations, as a key part of a lasting solution.

    Attention was given also to the importance of achieving full compliance with the ceasefire agreed at the Astana meetings and the conference recognised the special role and responsibility that the three guarantors – Russia, Turkey and Iran - hold when it comes to its full implementation.

    The third theme of the Conference was a recognition of the important role played by the neighbouring countries, especially Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Documents were agreed, setting out mutual commitments between Lebanon and Jordan and the international community.

    “In particular we need to support the economic development of neighbouring countries to address the impact of the protracted crisis as well as opportunities for Syrians to secure their livelihoods. We need to increase our work to reach the goal of getting all refugee children, vulnerable children in host communities and children in Syria into quality education. No lost generation can be accepted. Practical steps were agreed today to make this happen.

    “Finally – the fourth theme – we highlighted that reconstruction and international support for its implementation would be a peace dividend - a very powerful one - but only once a credible and inclusive political transition is firmly underway,” Mogherini concluded. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 28/03/2017

    Mogherini at the 28th Summit of the League of Arab States

    The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini is today and tomorrow in Jordan where she has been invited to address the 28th League of Arab States Summit at the Dead Sea.

    In the context of the existing cooperation between the League of Arab States and the European Union and with a view to further develop the important relationship, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini is today and tomorrow in Jordan where she has been invited to address the 28th League of Arab States Summit at the Dead Sea.

    The Summit is the occasion for the Arab States and for the members of the international community attending, including the HR/VP, to discuss the current challenges for the stability of the region and common efforts to address them.

    In the margins of the Summit, the HR/VP has met with His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of Jordan.

    Mogherini will have other bilateral meetings with ministers of Jordan,  the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and the State of Qatar among other.

    The Summit follows the meeting the HRVP Mogherini had yesterday in Brussels with the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

    Working with partners to strengthen Regional Orders is a priority of the EU Global Strategy. Find out more here.

  5. 27/03/2017

    EU at 60

    This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome and the EU intends to mark this milestone. Over the last six decades, the EU has actively sought to not only bring peace and prosperity to Europe, but to use its influence for a more equal, democratic and stable world.


    What does the EU do in the world?

    Europe is home to the world’s largest single market and second most widely-used currency. It is the largest trade power and development and humanitarian aid donor. Thanks in part to Horizon 2020, the world’s biggest multinational research programme, Europe is at the cutting edge of innovation.

    Its diplomacy holds real weight and helps keep the world safer and more sustainable, as shown by the historic deal with Iran on its nuclear programme or the leading role the EU played in the Paris Climate Agreement and the adoption by the United Nations of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. This influence is reinforced by our close cooperation with multinational bodies like the UN and NATO

    Europe remains attractive to partners around the world. The prospect of closer political and economic ties with the EU, or the promise of future membership, are powerful tools to project stability and security along our borders. The EU works actively with its neighbourhood in the east and south. From our strengthened partnership with Ukraine to the wide-ranging cooperation with our African partners, Europe’s role as a positive global force is more important than ever. Deepening our partnerships is one of the principles that guides the EU's external action according to the EU Global Strategy. Read more here.

  6. 23/03/2017

    High Representative Mogherini discusses with Young Mediterraneans

    High Representative Federica Mogherini today met a group of young representatives from the Southern Neighbourhood and Europe to discuss a wide variety of issues affecting people on both sides of the Mediterranean. What makes today's dialogue stand out is the commitment of this group of young people and the willingness of the EU to engage the youth in political processes.

    In October 2016, Mogherini announced “a new initiative for Young Mediterranean Voices”, which would bring young Med leaders to EU headquarters in Brussels to “start a conversation and bring about real change”, to shape policies, to listen and to define actions to follow suit. This meeting today with 36 young civil society actors from 16 different countries from the Middle East and North Africa and the EU is a fulfilment of this commitment and marks the beginning of a long term and sustainable process of exchange and action.

    Following preparatory discussions among the youth on Wednesday, expectations were high for the meeting with the EU's top diplomat in a discussion moderated by Shada Islam (Friends of Europe) and Aissam Benaissa (Young Med Voices), which took place at the European External Action Service today. As one participant, Esmat Elsayed, from Egypt, put it: "The most important skill we've learned through debating is to put ourselves in someone else's place. Today we want to give you [Ms Mogherini] the opportunity to see our perspective."

    In a frank and honest discussion, participants used the opportunity to share personal experiences, identify common challenges, and suggest concrete solutions and areas for actions. Aissam Benaissa, an Algerian activist and founder of the Young Arab Voices in Algeria, underlined: "We cannot understand these issues from a European perspective only, or equally, from an Arab perspective only, rather we need to have an active dialogue across and within societies."

    Participants stressed that dialogue is not only an essential part of understanding each other, but crucially gives people a stake and place in society. Anas Talalqa from Jordan pointed to the fact that a large part of the population in the Middle East and North Africa is younger than 30, but feels isolated from political processes. They also explained that current education curricula are not always relevant to the current socio-economic realities and aspirations of young people which can compound the feeling of disempowerment.

    Offering solutions to current challenges facing societies in the region, the young representatives spoke of opening "new channels of communication between the generations and across the Mediterranean", as Aissam Benaissa suggested, and expanding cooperation within the Erasmus+ programme, supporting cultural mobility or through the "promotion of critical thinking" in schools and educational systems, as  Anas Talalqa from Jordan advocated.

    Looking ahead, the young Mediterranean voices and High Representative were united in their determination to create and deepen spaces for exchange, to ensure the involvement of all parts of society, particularly young people, in political decision-making processes. As Mogherini stressed, this dialogue does not represent a concession from policy-makers to young people, rather it is a responsibility of policy makers: to listen, but also to create new pathways for young people to get involved in the present, and not just the future. Christian Scharling from Denmark said, "we want to give concrete examples and common positions that you could take with you and bring to future meetings".

    Now "you go back home, first of all, keep the contacts among you, second, imagine common projects you can do across the borders, come up again with new ideas, spread locally the ideas, the impressions, even the anecdotes you have lived through this experience and follow up in concrete terms," concluded Mogherini.

    Stepping up our public diplomacy to include a great diversity of voices in the debate on EU foreign policy is part of the EU Global Strategy's emphasis on Public Diplomacy. Read more here.

  7. 22/03/2017

    Young Professionals discuss future of EU leadership

    Young professionals from around the world are coming together from 22-24 March to discuss global trends and the future of transatlantic relations. 

    The summit was kicked off by a debate between Dr. Karen Donfried, President of the German Marshall Fund and Silvio Gonzato Director in charge of inter alia Strategic Communications at the European External Action Service. The debate with young people will continue at GMF Brussels Forum in the coming days.  Responsive and responsible leadership is a key feature of the EU Global Strategy. Read more here

  8. 20/03/2017

    Resilience as a strategic priority – Share your views!

    Submit your feedback online and share your views on Resilience as a strategic priority.

    Resilience is one of the guiding concepts in the EU Global Strategy. Building resilience at home and abroad means creating a more responsive Union. The EU is focused on enhancing resilience in both states and societies, which includes improving good governance, accountability, and creating a better space for civil society to act. In particular, resilience-building is targeting the EU's surrounding regions in the East and the South, spanning from Central Asia to Central Africa.

    The European Commission and the European External Action Service will publish a Joint Communication on Resilience as a strategic priority in May. This Joint Communication will outline how the institutions can work with the concept to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of the EU's development, humanitarian, security, climate and environmental, and governance work in third countries.  It will also examine how EU external policy can help identify and address pressures that may test the resilience of states and societies within the EU.

    The European Commission and the European External Action Service would like to hear your views. Please tell us what you think about this proposed Joint Communication on Resilience. You can submit your feedback directly on the European Commission's website.

    If you want to learn more about the Resilience as a strategic priority of the EU's external action, please see our "State and Societal Resilience" section.

  9. 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.”

  10. 18/03/2017

    EU working hard with partners to solve Libya crisis: Mogherini

    The European Union's work to help solve the crisis in Libya is all-encompassing and involves broad cooperation with its partners, High Representative Federica Mogherini said today.

    Speaking after the first meeting of the Quartet on Libya in Cairo, Mogherini said: "I would like to underline very clearly that the European Union's work and attention and priority on the Libyan crisis is something we do not see purely through the migration-issue lens. 
    "This is a humanitarian tragedy, we feel the responsibility to tackle, together with our Libyan friends but also together with our African friends and our Arab friends and the United Nations. Also because the trafficking and smuggling business is part of one of the problems that Libya is facing in this moment and the loss of lives ... is something we all have to take responsibility for to stop it."
    The Quartet was created when the United Nations, African Union and League of Arab States invited the EU to join their common work to find a solution to the problems facing Libya. The High a Representative will host the next Quartet meeting in Brussels in a few weeks' time. 
    The EU is currently implementing a practical package of support measures for Libya worth €120 million, which pays for projects covering the health sector, governance, security but also civil society, protection of people, youth and education. 
    The EU has already fully trained the first 90 Libyan coastguards in a programme to help Libya control its territorial waters, dismantle the traffickers' networks and in turn help the economic situation in Libya.
    Taking an Integrated Approach to Conflicts and Crises is a priority of the EU Global strategy. Read more here.