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Uutinen 7.5.2010

Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers to convene at the EU Foreign Affairs Council

Press Release 146/2010
7 May 2010

The EU Foreign Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on 10 May. The main topics on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting are the EU–Russia Summit and the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The UN Millennium Development Goals and gender equality in development cooperation are the main topics of the Development Ministers’ meeting. Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb will represent Finland at the meeting.

Foreign Ministers’ meeting

The Foreign Ministers will discuss the objectives for the EU–Russia Summit, which will take place in Russia in late May–early June. In the view of Finland, the EU should encourage Russia to join international organizations and treaties, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Finland also supports progress towards reciprocal visa-free travel between the EU and Russia.

The Council will also discuss the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This is a situation review or possibly a specification of objectives, because the EU agreed on its objectives for the ongoing NPT Review Conference already in March. Whether Conclusions will be given is uncertain. Moreover, the Foreign Ministers will discuss the controversy over Iran’s nuclear programme and the preparation of new sanctions against Iran. Finland supports the tightening of sanctions, as Iran has not shown the wish to cooperate as had been hoped in order to resolve the controversy over the nuclear programme.

The Foreign Ministers will discuss Somalia as well, especially the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia and the EU’s Atalanta operation protecting humanitarian transports. A topical objective is to reach agreements with the countries of the region on transfer for trial of those detained for piracy. Finland is considering participating in the operation at sea by assigning one vessel. Finland stresses a wide range of measures – including reconstruction, development cooperation, and security measures – and supports the EU’s common approach at the international conference on Somalia’s reconstruction being held in Istanbul in May.

The topics to be discussed during the working lunch are the EU’s strategic partnerships, which will be on the European Council’s agenda in September. The discussion will focus on cooperation with China, which is a major actor in the international community and in resolving regional security matters. Finland emphasizes securing the EU’s commercial interests, support for development of the rule of law in China and the achievement of results in climate negotiations.

Development Ministers’ meeting

The Development Ministers will discuss preparation of the EU’s stands for the High-Level review conference to take place in New York in September. Central challenges to attaining the UN Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 are, among others, correcting the effects of the economic and financial crisis as well as supporting the countries that have fallen the furthest behind the pace of development and strengthening the effectiveness of development cooperation.

Closely linked with the Millennium Development Goals is promotion of gender equality in development cooperation; the intention is to decide on an Action Plan concerning this in June. Finland considers the Action Plan to be an important instrument for promoting sustainable development.

The Development Ministers’ agenda also includes the substantial reconstruction work in Haiti. The EU’s support to Haiti in total amounts to 2.2 billion euros. Finland has granted 5.4 million euros in humanitarian aid to Haiti and supports reconstruction and debt relief for Haiti totalling 12.7 million euros. Finland’s support is channelled mainly through the World Bank’s Haiti Reconstruction Fund.

In addition, the Development Ministers will discuss the European External Action Service (EEAS). Development questions are central in establishing the EEAS. In future, too, poverty reduction and promotion of sustainable development should be principles guiding EU development policy.

Additional information For the Foreign Ministers’ meeting Counsellor Markku Lampinen, Unit for European Common Foreign and Security Policy, tel. +358 9 1605 5330 or mobile tel. +358 40 726 6124 and Päivi Pohjanheimo, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 5332 or mobile tel. +358 50 511 3786; and for the Development Ministers’ meeting Counsellor Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, Unit for General Development Policy and Planning, tel. +358 9 1605 6272 or mobile tel. +358 40 721 7159

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