Uutinen 13.6.2008

EU Ministers to prepare the June European Council and discuss the Western Balkans and Iran

Government Communications Unit
Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Press release 181/2008

The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) will meet on Monday, 16 June, in Luxembourg. The main theme of the meeting will be the preparation of the June European Council. Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors will represent Finland at the GAERC meeting.

The current Presidency country, Slovenia, will present its proposal for the conclusions of the European Council meeting to take place on 19 and 20 June. The European Council is to discuss the preparations for the entry into force of Lisbon Treaty. Discussion will focus, for example, on the ratification of the Treaty, the role of the rotating Presidency, and the External Action Service to be established under the Treaty. The agenda will also cover issues relating to the rising prices of food and oil, Justice and Home Affairs and external relations.

The foreign ministers will discuss the situation in Kosovo, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The new constitution of Kosovo is to enter into force on the preceding Sunday, 15 June 2008. The meeting will also consider the situation in Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia after elections. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Bosnia-Herzegovina is to be signed in connection with the Council meeting.

Issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme will also be discussed. According to the most recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Iran has continued to enrich uranium against the UN Security Council resolutions. EU High Representative Javier Solana is to visit Iran prior to the Council meeting and present to Iran the revised offer of cooperation by the EU3+3 countries (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and the United States).

The situation in Sudan is also on the agenda. Particular attention will be given to Sudan’s unwillingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, has been invited to the meeting to discuss the issue with the EU ministers. In the context of external relations, the ministers will also discuss the peace processes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda in the African Great Lakes region.

The ministers will also discuss China in the light of the situation in Tibet and with regard to the rescue and relief work carried out after the May earthquakes. Other external relations topics include the situations in the Middle East and Burma/Myanmar and the WTO Doha negotiation round.

Further information: Jari Luoto, State Secretary for EU Affairs, Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2180 and Anne Huhtamäki, Counsellor, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Division for European Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 6097 or +358 40 546 0456