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In the light of recent developments in Egypt, an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council was held on Wednesday 21 August. The meeting was chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
EU foreign affairs ministers discussed the situation in Somalia and the preparations for an international conference on Somalia.
Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee will conduct an "in-depth inquiry" into the US surveillance programmes, including the bugging of EU premises and other spying allegations, and present its results by the end of this year, says a resolution passed by the full House. Parliament's President and political group leaders formally confirmed the launch of the inquiry. MEPs also call for more protection for whistleblowers.
On the 1 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th member of the EU after a decade of carrying out all the reforms needed to bring it into line with EU laws and standards.
The Council agreed to recommend to the European Council to open accession negotiations with Serbia. The Council also agreed in principle on draft Council decisions authorising the opening of negotiations on a stabilisation and association agreement (SAA) between the European Union and Kosovo, to be adopted on 28 June 2013, following the necessary procedures.
The Council discussed the situation in Syria. After the meeting, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy underlined the EU's belief that the crisis must be solved through a political process.
Advancing global trade, fighting tax evasion and tax avoidance, and increasing transparency were the main themes at the 39th G8 summit held in Lough Erne (UK) on 17 and 18 June.
The negotiations will cover three main components: market access, regulatory issues including non-tariff barriers, and the agreement's rules.
EU trade ministers mandated the Commission to negotiate a sweeping EU–US trade and investment pact. The talks are expected to be formally launched at the G8 on 17 June.