Uutinen 11.6.2010

EU Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers to meet in Luxembourg

Press Release 187/2010
11 June 2010

The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union will convene in Luxembourg on 14 June. The main topics on the agenda for the Foreign Ministers’ meeting are the situation in Gaza and Iran’s nuclear programme. The UN Millennium Development Goals and gender equality are the main items of discussion at the Development Ministers’ meeting. Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen will represent Finland at the meeting.

Foreign Ministers’ meeting

The Foreign Ministers will discuss the situation in Gaza and the Israeli attack against the aid shipment headed for Gaza. The discussion will focus in particular on the problems linked with the blockade of Gaza and on a thorough and neutral examination of the attack. Finland’s objective is continuation of the peace process and dismantling of the blockade of Gaza. One step in lifting the blockade would be for Israel to draw up a separate list of products that may not be exported to Gaza while it would allow other goods. At present, there is a list of products that may be exported to Gaza.

The Council will also address Iran’s nuclear programme and the sanctions associated with it. The Resolution on sanctions approved by the UN Security Council and further EU measures will be discussed. Finland sees the UN Security Council Resolution as an important signal. Finland supports the two-track policy where alongside the search for a negotiated solution Iran is pressured by means of sanctions.

The Council will discuss the situation in the West Balkans and is expected to approve Conclusions. The topic is on the agenda at lunch, where Prosecutor Brammertz of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will talk about his impressions on cooperation between the countries of the region and the Court. In the light of Prosecutor Brammertz’s evaluation, the Council will discuss the launch of the national ratification process concerning the Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia. Another item on the agenda is the political situation in Albania. In addition, the Council will probably return to the accession negotiations with FYR Macedonia; Finland supports prompt opening of these negotiations.

In the context of the OSCE the Foreign Ministers will discuss the so-called Corfu Process, which is underpinned by Russian President Medvedev’s initiative on a European security treaty. Finland considers it important that the EU retains a central role in the process and that the EU’s common priorities are defined with a view to the Interim Report on the Corfu Process and the Informal Meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers to be held in July.

The Somalian marine piracy problem is on the agendas of both the Development Ministers’ meeting and the Foreign Ministers’ meeting. The intention is to reach Conclusions on the matter. The working lunch will be attended by Admiral Hudson, Commander of Operation Atalanta. The trials of those suspected of piracy at sea and the implementation of court decisions will be discussed. The EU strives to negotiate an agreement on the transfer of those detained with countries in the region. Finland stresses a broad range of instruments whereby the EU should promote stability in the country and influence the multidimensional causes underlying piracy at sea. Finland is preparing to participate in the Atalanta operation with one vessel as from 2011.

The annual review of the EU position on Cuba will take place during the Foreign Ministers’ meeting and Conclusions on the topic will be endorsed. In addition, the Council will endorse Conclusions on the use of child labour and the situation in the South Caucasus. Furthermore, the agenda includes an evaluation of the EU’s actions in Haiti.

Development Ministers’ meeting

The Development Ministers will discuss the UN Millennium Development Goals, and at the same time will approve the EU’s position for the UN High-Level Meeting to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals, to take place in autumn. Finland’s objective at the meeting is for the EU to give a strong political signal on attaining the Millennium Development Goals in accordance with their timetable.

The Council will also discuss gender equality and strengthening the position of women and girls in development cooperation. As part of the Millennium Development Conclusions, the Council will endorse the Commission’s proposal for an Action Plan on Gender Equality. Improvement of the position of women and girls as well as gender equality are pivotal issues in Finland’s development policy and human rights policy. Finland stresses that, as the world’s largest donor of development assistance and the greatest recipient of Finland’s development cooperation appropriations, the EU should use its resources to further equality and its promotion internationally.

Additional information: For the Foreign Ministers’ meeting: Päivi Pohjanheimo, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 5332 or mobile tel. +358 50 511 3786 and First Secretary Juha Mustonen, tel. +358 9 1605 5018 or mobile tel. +358 40 726 6124; and for the Development Ministers’ meeting: Päivi Nevala, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 09 1605 56171 or mobile tel. +358 40 753 4375 and Counsellor Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, tel. +358 9 1605 6272 or mobile tel. +358 40 721 7159