In partnership with women: empowerment through action
The year 2012 marked a year of intensive activity by the EU's new diplomatic service and the EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security Catherine Ashton. Here we present a few photos that capture the year, month by month – from Nuclear talks with Iran in Baghdad to the UN Assembly week in New York - to election monitoring in Senegal.
The 30th European Union-Russia Summit will take place in Brussels on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 December 2012.
This week the European Parliament held its last plenary session of the year in Strasbourg and once again Foreign Policy took up most of the agenda on Wednesday 12 December. During this plenary session, the Parliament not only celebrated the Nobel Peace Prize and awarded this year's Sakharov prize to two Iranian Human Rights defenders but also addressed key foreign policy issues. Indeed MEPs debated topical and important issues such as Human Rights, the New EU-Russia Agreement and the Situation in Egypt.
European Union Foreign Ministers met in Brussels Monday for their monthly meeting on International issues. The Middle East Peace Process, Syria, Ukraine and Mali took up most of the agenda although a forthcoming summit on Russia, developments in Egypt and the Western Balkans were also discussed.
12 October 2012 - Cheers all around at the news that the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 would be awarded to the European Union. 10 December 2012 – the much awaited day of the Award ceremony in Oslo.
Each year Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. The Declaration was drafted by representatives of all regions and cultures, becoming a landmark expression of global commitment to provide people all over the world with universal rights and freedoms.
The fourth EU-U.S. Energy Council met today in Brussels and was chaired by EU High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton, Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. The Energy Council, a central component of the EU-U.S. energy relationship, promotes transparent and secure global energy markets; fosters co-operation on regulatory frameworks that encourage the efficient and sustainable use of energy; and identifies joint research priorities that promote clean energy technologies. These actions help to boost economic growth, reduce carbon emissions and create new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
On December 4, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission held the third meeting in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue with Prime Minister Thaçi and Prime Minister Dačić.
Georgia, 26 November 2012 Before travelling to Central Asia, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton met with both Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi .
On November 25, 1960, three Dominican sisters, political activists known as the Hermanas Mirabal, were brutally assassinated for opposing the Trujillo dictatorship. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women remembers this day.
"On the occasion of Universal Children’s Day, I would like to reiterate the strong commitment of the European Union to the promotion and protection of children’s rights everywhere in the world." These were Catherine Ashton's words at the beginning of her statement on 20 November that marks The United Nations' (UN) Universal Children's day.
The crisis in Gaza was high on the agenda when European Union Foreign Ministers met in Brussels on 19 November for their monthly meeting. They said that the situation is "extremely grave" and called for an urgent "de-escalation and cessation of hostilities" by both sides. They also deeply regretted the loss of life on both sides.
Following an invitation from the Government of Sierra Leone and the National Electoral Commission, the European Union has established a mission to observe the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections in Sierra Leone, scheduled for 17 November 2012.
Greater cooperation between the European Union and Egypt was behind the EU-Egypt Task Force held today in Cairo, 14 November. The aim of the task force is to reiterate EU support for the reform process in Egypt.
The European Union has launched a drawing and writing contest for 8-24 years olds, with the four winners being invited to the 2012 Nobel Peace prize ceremony in Oslo.
On 07 November the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton had another meeting in Brussels with the Prime Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi, in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue.
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, travelled to Morocco and Algeria this week.
The ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is taking place in Vientiane, Laos, on 5-6 November under the theme “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity”. The EU is represented by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. Heads of States and Governments of the 27 EU Member States and the 21 Asian partners are also attending.
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Pristina this week for a joint visit with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was in the Middle East this week. On the eve of her visit, she said: ‘This is a critical time for the wider Middle East. The close cooperation between the European Union and our partners in the region is essential to help us deal with the political, strategic and humanitarian challenges we face at this time. The objective of this trip is to take this cooperation forward as effectively as possible."
Wednesday 24 October marks World Development Information Day 2012 - an important day on the development calendar that recognizes the need and importance of reliable information to fight social problems like poverty and inequality.
On 19 October the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton had a meeting in Brussels with the Prime Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi, to discuss the way forward in the EU-facilitated dialogue.
This year's European Development Days will put the spotlight on burning issues for the developing world. At a time when emerging countries are getting richer; when Africa is recording unprecedented economic growth and a boom in business activities; but also at a time when food security remains an acute challenge and inequalities are rising, the international development community will gather in Brussels on 16-17 October to discuss these challenges and push forward the global agenda.
Sanctions against Syria and Iran were two of the main talking points of the monthly meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers on Monday 15 October. Also on the agenda was the instability in Mali and human rights concerns in Belarus.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European Union (EU). The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
"I am frequently reminded that everything I do as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy affects the lives of girls", says Catherine Ashton on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child.
The use of formal execution goes back to the beginning of recorded history. Execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by nearly all societies. Since World War II however there has been a rising trend toward abolishing the death penalty and this year sees the 10th World Day against the Death Penalty.
On 10 October 2012 the European Commission adopted its latest 'Enlargement package' - a set of documents explaining its policy on EU enlargement and reporting on progress achieved in each country.
The Budapest conference on Cyberspace brought together leading international figures to debate ways in which Cyber security could be guaranteed. For the European Union, Catherine Ashton set out her vision of how an open, free and secure internet could be maintained.
"Every night they train and fire. I hate the noise of the bullets and it almost makes me crazy. And I run away. Yes I run away. But I do not have a bicycle because the roads are bad, and I do not have a car and I do not have a plane. But I have something I can run away with. They come closer, the soldiers come closer and I will whisper you my secret." - Salha
New York, Wednesday 26 September – A ceremony was held today to celebrate the official opening of the new European Union Delegation to the United Nations. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, opened the new premises in the presence of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Leaders from around the world will gather in New York in the coming days for the ministerial week of the 67th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA).
The 15th EU-China summit will take place in Brussels on 20 September. The EU will be represented by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The People's Republic of China will be represented by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
The 5th European Union-South Africa Summit took place today in Brussels.
Science knows no boundaries: the EU will strengthen its cooperation in research and innovation across the globe, with Horizon 2020 - its funding programme for research and innovation from 2014 - playing a key role.
The European Union and Ukraine have initialled an Association Agreement as part of a joint effort to further strengthen the ties and bonds between them.
One of the highlights of this week in the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg was its key debate on External polices. Parliamentarians exchanged their views with HR/VP Catherine ASHTON on the future of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the situation in Syria and on the political use of justice in Russia.
High Representative Catherine Ashton will chair on 7 and 8 September the informal meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Paphos, Cyprus.
David O'Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service gave a speech on 'The EEAS, national foreign services and the future of European diplomacy' during an EPC Policy Dialogue, in Brussels, 6 September 2012.
In a wide ranging speech Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief and head of the European External Action Service (EEAS), outlined some of the key achievements of EU foreign policy over the last year and challenges ahead. She was speaking in Brussels on Monday 3 September to the Heads of EU Delegations around the world.
On Friday 24 August, Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, travelled to South Africa to co-chair the 11th EU-South Africa Ministerial Political Dialogue (MPD). This visit by Ms. Ashton, as well as her subsequent visit to Kenya, highlights the importance the EU attaches to its relation with the African continent through engagements with two key partners.
Many people dedicate their lives to helping others – facing danger and death…
The International Day of the World's Indigenous People is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world's indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions by indigenous people to improve world issues such as environmental protection.
On a proposal by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, the Council, on 25 July 2012, appointed Stavros Lambrinidis as EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights.
The crisis in Syria, relations with the Europe's Southern Neighbours and developments in Mali, Sudan/South Sudan and Somalia dominated the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday 23 July. Speaking on arrival, High Representative Catherine Ashton, who chairs the monthly meeting of Foreign Ministers from all EU countries, spoke of the "terrible situation evolving" in Syria and reiterated the EU's commitment to the Syrian people and the Annan plan.
On 18 July, the European Commission decided on draft negotiating directives for a possible Free Trade Agreement and a parallel Framework Agreement between the EU and Japan.
18 July 1918… the birth of a great man who devoted his life to the service of humanity - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela - and what better day to acknowledge the former South African President’s contribution to peace and freedom than 18 July itself… hence in November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared this day "Nelson Mandela International Day"
Intervention by EEAS Deputy Secretary General Helga Schmid at the International Conference "Women in Diplomacy - Building a Network for a Better World" in Rome, 15-16 July 2012
This week Catherine Ashton attended the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) and the 19th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), held in Cambodia.
Following an invitation from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, the European Union has established an independent mission to observe tomorrow's Legislative Elections in Timor-Leste.
The highlight of this week in European Foreign policy has probably been on 4 July session at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Indeed the late afternoon and evening was dedicated to foreign policy debates between Members of Parliament and the Cypriot Deputy Minister for European Affairs Mr. Mavroyiannis who was speaking on behalf of High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton. Topical foreign policies such as Georgia, Syria, and Egypt were addressed.
The Arctic is rapidly warming up. The period 2005-2010 stands out as the warmest period ever recorded in the region and this is projected to continue into the future. The Arctic's rapid change provides a strong rationale for the EU to step up its commitment to environmental protection and combating climate change in the area.
As from today, 1 July, Cyprus will assume the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union. The country is now hosting the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time in its history. Cyprus is hosting the Presidency until 1 January 2013 when Ireland will take over.
The EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUPM), the first mission launched under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), will complete its mandate on 30 June. Initially launched on 1 January 2003 for a period of three years, EUPM continued its mission beyond this at the request of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), regularly adjusting its size and role as necessary within the framework of the EU's efforts to support the rule of law.
Helga Schmid, Deputy Secretary General of the EEAS Service, gave a key note speech at the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC) in Vienna on 26 June.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in October 1990 between Vietnam and the EU, ties have developed rapidly, moving from an initial focus on trade and aid to a broader, more diversified and more political partnership.
Today, 26 June is the UN International Day Against Torture which is an occasion to emphasise the importance of the right to personal dignity and security of all individuals around the world, guaranteed within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Today, in Luxembourg, the Council of European Foreign Affairs ministers adopted an important new package on Human Rights and Democracy which sets out, for the first time, a unified EU Strategic Framework for the next ten years.
Every minute eight people around the world are forced to flee war, persecution or terror.
The 6th European Union-Mexico Summit will take place on Sunday 17 June 2012 in Los Cabos (Mexico) in the margins of the G20 Summit held on 18-19 June under the Mexican Presidency.
The European External Action Service (EEAS) is creating more visibility and support for women's involvement in peace and security by organizing two events that focus on sharing knowledge, expertise and best practices relevant to gender and human rights issues in peace negotiations and mediation and in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions.
The EU and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing inaugurated today a 4,5km road connecting the villages of Qaryout, Talfeet and Jaloud in the Nablus district. The ceremony took place in the village of Qaryout in the presence of the PA Minister of Public Works & Housing, Maher Ghonaim, the Nablus Governor, Jibrin Al Bakri and the EU Representative, John Gatt-Rutter. The opening of the road was marked with a symbolic race of more than 150 children from all three villages.
The highlight of this week in European Foreign policy has probably been the 12 June session at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Indeed the whole afternoon and evening was dedicated to foreign policy debates between Members of Parliament and High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton.
The EU Delegation to Ukraine – in cooperation with the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Kyiv City authorities – has launched a special project on Saturday, 2nd June 2012. The project called European Village not only offers an additional attraction for Ukrainian citizens and visitors during Euro 2012, but also serves as a special platform to deliver EU's messages and provide an overview of our activities and assistance programmes in Ukraine
Increasing cooperation between the European Union and Pakistan across a broad range of issues – from foreign and security policy to development and trade - is at the essence of a new Strategic Dialogue being launched this week.
The EU-Russia Summit on 3-4 June in St Petersburg brings together the leaders of the European Union and the newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Summit takes place shortly after President Putin's inauguration and formation of the new Russian government. This meeting will be an opportunity for the EU and Russia to further develop their strategic vision of their crucial relationship for the years to come.
This year the annual BusinessMed Blue Award has been given to Catherine Ashton for her efforts in promoting peace and economic development in the Mediterranean region. The Blue Award ceremony took place during BusinessMed’s General Assembly held in Brussels on 30 May.
The European Union participates on 20-21 May in the Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Chicago. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will be in Chicago, along with 60 Heads of State and Government representing NATO members as well as third states.
This is the famous first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted almost sixty years ago by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
In May 2011, the European Union (EU) completed a major review of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which coincided with dramatic changes taking place in the wake of the Arab Spring. The new approach was aimed at rewarding democratic reform and economic transformation on a ‘more-for-more’ basis with greater and broader EU financial support for the more committed reformers of the 16 partner countries* in both the Southern and Eastern neighbourhood.
Afghanistan, the Middle East Peace Process and new sanctions on Syria were three key aspects of the Foreign Affairs Council held in Brussels on 14 May. The day also saw a meeting on Development where a new "Agenda for Change" proposal was adopted which will make EU Development aid more responsive to a changing world. The meetings were chaired by Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign affairs chief and brought together Ministers from the 27 members of the European Union.
The first ever framework agreement between the EU and Iraq was signed today between Catherine Ashton, and the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari.
Sixty-two years ago, on 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman - then French Minister for Foreign Affairs - read to the international press gathered in Paris a declaration calling on France, Germany and other European countries to create a “European federation” around a common project of coal and steel production and, beyond, to maintain pacific relations between countries which were coming out of a divisive war. This declaration and the principles that flowed from it are often seen as the basis for the establishment of the European Economic Community in 1957 – which later became the European Union.From 1985, 9 May was established as Europe Day and events around Europe and the rest of world mark the achievements and challenges of building a Europe based on peace, social progress, economic development and solidarity.
Already this year 12 journalists have been killed while doing their work and another 161 imprisoned worldwide according to "Reporters without Borders". The latest is French journalist Romeo Langlois who is believed to be held by the FARC movement in Colombia.Since its inception in 1993 by the United Nations, 3rd May has been marked as World Press Freedom Day which is used to draw attention of cases of persecution across the world."Everyone’s right to hold opinions"
Security is a global challenge that the European Union tackles with a number of partners, and primarily the United States. Through its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the EU continues to position itself as a security provider, in a context of financial austerity and a changing strategic environment. In this context, the EEAS organises a symposium on the Common Security and Defence Policy on 26 April in Washington D.C.
The historic changes that have occurred in Burma over the last few months were recognised by European Union Foreign Ministers on Monday (23 April) when they agreed to lift some sanctions against the regime.
"When I was there last June, we could tell that something was happening. There was some sort of change coming. We just didn't know what shape it would be".
The highlight of this week in European Foreign policy has probably been the first day of the plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Indeed the whole evening of 17 April was dedicated to foreign policy debates between Members of Parliament and High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton.
While the European Union’s objective remains to develop a durable and positive relationship with Iran in order to develop the potential for a constructive partnership, from which both sides could draw benefits, since 2005 the serious concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme have dominated EU-Iran relations.
Seoul welcomes another important Summit this week. Today, 28 March marks the sixth EU-Korea Summit.
The second Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is being held 26-27 March in the capital of South Korea, Seoul.
Did you know that producing 1 kilo of beef consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres?
Speech by High Representative Catherine Ashton at the Annual national Conference on Europe, Oslo Congress Centre, Norway 8 March 2012.
Invitation to the media from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) assisting millions of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.
The fragile wilderness of the Arctic and its impact on Europe will be under discussion when EU High Representative Catherine travels to Finland, Sweden and Norway this week. The visit comes as part of preparations to follow up on a 2008 document setting out the EU's position on the Arctic.
Democracy, Election Observation Missions and Human Rights were on the agenda in recent talks held in Brussels between the EU and the Organization of American States (OAS) on 27 February.
In December 2011 Catherine Ashton reaffirmed the centrality of the rights of children to EU human rights policy
Gathering foreign ministers and other officials from around 80 countries, the meeting will seek ways to secure a cease fire in Syria.
On 23rd of February, High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton and Commissioners for Development Andris Piebalgs and for Humanitarian Affairs Kristalina Georgieva will be in London for the International Conference on Somalia.
Meeting in Beijing for the annual EU-China summit leaders of both sides have agreed to take steps to make it easier for European and Chinese people to have closer contacts.
A meeting in New Delhi on 10 February confirmed progress towards a Free Trade Agreement, as well as regarding security cooperation and collaboration in the fields of, energy and research and innovation.
Continuing a visit to Latin America, High Representative Catherine Ashton is in Mexico from 8 to 10 February for meetings with the Mexican president and foreign affairs minister.
In her first visit to Latin America since taking office, High Representative Catherine Ashton is discussing the EU and Brazilian positions on a number of global issues, from the economy to the Middle East.
Global economic changes have seen certain developing and emerging countries growing both their exports and GDP, while others have become increasingly marginalised. The new proposals aim to ensure that EU support goes to those countries needing it most.
The Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service (EEAS) was on hand last week to launch a report by the European Policy Centre (EPC) on one year of the EEAS.
Rising concerns over the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme has prompted the broadening of sanctions. A ban on the importation of Iranian crude oil and a freeze on the assets of Iran's central bank in the EU will be introduced.
The Development Commissioner Piebalgs will attend the Addis Ababa summit on 29 and 30 January as an observer, further strengthening ties between the EU and the African Union (AU).
Ministerial and bilateral meetings will help prepare the ground for the EU-India summit taking place in Delhi in February.
High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton is actively engaged in a peaceful and orderly solution for Camp Ashraf in Iraq.
The respect and defence of human rights is a core value of the European Union. This commitment guides and drives all actions of the EU, both internal and external.
The entry into force of the Council Decision establishing the European External Action Service in July 2010 was the start of an intense and challenging new phase in building the EU’s role in foreign policy and external relations.