In partnership with women: empowerment through action
On the 3rd and 4th December, the European External Action Service organised a High-level Conference entitled “Towards a global network of crisis rooms”. This conference focused on Crisis Coordination Centres or Crisis Rooms - be they national, regional or global - and their interaction in major multi-sector crises.
During the 29 November Eastern Partnership Summit, the EU - Moldova Association Agreement was initialled. The Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, will further strengthen political, economic and trade relations between the EU and the Republic of Moldova.
During the 29 November Eastern Partnership Summit, the EU - Georgia Association Agreement was initialled. The Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, will further strengthen political, economic and trade relations between the parties.
In view of the European Council of 19-20 December which is expected to provide a new steer for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the Council has over recent weeks studied High Representative Catherine Ashton’s report and the Commission’s communication on the defence sector.
On the occasion of the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, the European Commission has today announced – in a strategy paper – a new push to fight female genital mutilation (FGM) in the European Union and beyond. The practice, internationally recognised as a violation of women’s human rights and as a form of child abuse, is thought to have affected 500,000 victims in the EU alone, and more than 125 million worldwide.
Just before dawn on Sunday, a historic nuclear agreement was agreed between the international community and Iran. It followed four days of intense negotiations in Geneva, led by European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, who has represented the international community in its negotiations with Iran for the past four years. The Foreign Ministers of the E3/EU+3 – China, EU, France, Germany, Russia the UK and the US were present in Geneva for the finalisation of the deal, which has been hailed as an example of the international community working together to resolve complicated issues.
On 19 November in Tokyo, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, met Japanese Prime Minister Abe for the twenty first summit meeting between the European Union and Japan.
The upcoming Vilnius summit, migration issues and the recent violence in Libya were on the agenda when the European Union's 28 Foreign Ministers met in Brussels on 18 November. The Vilnius "Eastern Partnership" Summit could be crucial in defining the EU's relations with its Eastern Neighbours like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia for decades. The monthly Foreign Affairs Council is chaired by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and discusses the most pressing international issues. Also discussed was the situation in Syria, Egypt, the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and financial support for the World Health Organisation.
The first EU – Myanmar Task Force took place in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw from 13th – 15th November. The Task Force brought together leading political, development and economic figures from both sides as well as civil society groups and NGOs to discuss Myanmar’s on-going social, political and economic transition including facilitating and delivering comprehensive EU support at all levels. It was the first time that the Task Force concept had been used outside of Europe's neighbourhood.
The first EU-Myanmar Task Force will take place in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, 13-15 November 2013. The purpose of the Task Force is to provide comprehensive support to the transition in Myanmar/Burma by bringing together all of the tools and mechanisms – both political and economic (development aid, peace process support, investments) – available to the EU.
EU High Representative Catherine is in Geneva for two days of talks with Iran over its Nuclear programme. She is chairing the meeting of the E3/EU+3 with Iranian Foreign Minister and Chief Nuclear Negotiator Javad Zarif. It is the second round since the election of President Rouhani.
In the run-up to the European Development Days 2013 and the High Level Panel on Gender, the EU is seeking your views on the question below:How can the post-2015 framework ensure progress towards gender equality? Do we have to choose between standalone goals and mainstreaming?
Catherine Ashton delivered a wide ranging speech on the latest developments in the European Union's common foreign, security and defence policy on Wednesday, 23 October at the European Parliament.
Syria, the Eastern Partnership, Egypt and Myanmar/Burma dominated the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers held on 21 October in Luxembourg. This meeting, the "Foreign Affairs Council", meets monthly and discusses the main international issues facing the European Union and the wider International community. It is chaired by the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
Brussels, 10 October 2013 – Today is World and European Day against the Death Penalty. Consistent with its strong and principled policy against the death penalty, the EU is undoubtedly one of the most prominent international players and lead donors in the abolitionist cause worldwide.
From the 8th to 10th of October 2013, representatives of governments and employers' and workers' organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and the other civil society actors as well as regional and international organisations will gather in Brasilia to take stock of the progress made since the II Global Conference (The Hague, 2010), assess remaining obstacles and agree on measures to strengthen actions to eliminate the worst forms of child labour as well as all forms of child labour.
EU and world leaders together with key figures from international organisations participated last week in the annual UN General Assembly.
Centered on encounters, dialogue and exchanges, europalia.india will focus on 7 themes, indicative of Indian culture and artistic expressions: the body, indomania, India tomorrow, living traditions, water, Bollywood & beyond, and the diaspora. These milestones will help to guide the public through the vast cultural wealth of India. As a reflection of the guest country, the europalia.india festival promises to be rich and colourful.
The annual meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) brings together the leaders of almost every UN member and leading figures from International Organisations. The European Union will be strongly represented at the discussions in UNGA so that Europe's voice resonates strongly in discussions and decisions that affect the global community.
With a new Head of Mission and a mandate extended for fifteen months, the European Union monitoring mission in Georgia (EUMM) looks at the challenges ahead: fostering confidence between parties, faced with a changing environment.
On 16 September a landmark Conference on A New Deal for Somalia was held in Brussels, co-hosted by the Somali Federal Government and the European Union (EU), with participation from Somali regions, Members of Parliament and civil society, as well as international friends and partners.
On Monday, 16th September the European Union and the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia will co-host a Conference in Brussels to endorse the "New Deal Compact" framework which commits national and international partners to jointly deliver on the most critical political, security and socioeconomic priorities in Somalia.
International developments in Syria and Egypt were the focus on debate in the European Parliament on 11 September when Catherine Ashton gave keynote speeches on Syria and Egypt. Following a successful outcome of the informal meeting with Foreign Ministers in Vilnius last week, the High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton discussed extensively this week with the European Parliament – first with the leaders of political groups and then in plenary - the latest development in Syria.
High Representative Catherine Ashton chaired the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers in Vilnius on 5 and 6 September. The meeting was an opportunity to prepare for the European Council in December, which will focus on Security and Defence.
On 4 September 2013, off the coast of Mogadishu, the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Atalanta hosted the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, on board the Dutch EU NAVFOR flagship, HNLMS Johan de Witt.
The political decision that created the European External Action Service (EEAS) said that High Representative Catherine Ashton should review the Service in a report in the summer of 2013 – two years after the creation of the EEAS.
July's meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council covered a wide variety of international issues – from the situation in Egypt, to the Middle East Peace Process, a new plan for Burma/Myanmar and the status of the military wing of Hezbollah. The monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers was chaired by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, travelled to Egypt on Wednesday, 17th of July. During her visit she held talks with the acting President, vice-President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the Minister of Defence. She also met with young people from Tamarod and the representatives of the Freedom and Justice Party.
Earlier this week, the High Representative Catherine Ashton travelled to Moldova and then on to Serbia and Kosovo. The first stop was to support Moldova's efforts in the run up to November's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. In Serbia and Kosovo Ashton commended the leadership on both sides for reaching a historic first agreement on normalisation of relations between the two countries, with the facilitation of HR/VP and recognized by the June European Council, and to encourage further implementation of the agreement.
High Representative Catherine Ashton led the EU Delegation to the 23rd session of the Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) held in Manama, capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on 30 June 2013. The two blocs remain key partners on a number of issues and the emphasis both sides place on the Joint Council reflects this.
1 July 2013 landmarks Croatia's accession to the European Union - the 28th EU member country - good news for Croatia, the EU and the remaining aspirant countries in the Western Balkans!
Noting that climate change constitutes a decisive global challenge which, if not urgently managed, will put at risk not only the environment but also world economic prosperity, development and, more broadly, stability and security, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted a set of conclusions on 24 June to further mainstream climate diplomacy into EU and Member States’ priority agendas. The aim is to help mobilising the necessary political will globally in support of an ambitious climate agreement in 2015 and more effective climate action on the ground.
Monday and Tuesday saw intense EU diplomacy as the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on Monday and General Affairs Council (GAC) brought together Ministers from the 27 EU States.
The adoption of the EU's Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World for 2012 was a significant moment for human rights internationally. This report charts the work of the EU on human rights across the full range of the EU's external relations and highlights the EU's main achievements.
High Representative Catherine Ashton held meetings in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and Palestine, offering EU support to those countries in transition, and to US attempts to re-start Middle East peace talks.
In view of the recent publication of the Cyber Security Strategy for the European Union, the Irish Presidency, in association with the Estonian Ministry of Defence and the European Defence Agency, organised a high-level EU Cyber Security conference in Brussels on 20th June.
The EU is committed to promote human rights in all areas of its external action without exception, in particular, using the link between new technologies and human rights as important avenues for promoting democracy.
The inaugural round of the High Level Security Dialogue took place on 13 June 2013 in Brussels, between the European Union and the countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).
On 13 June 2013 High Representative Catherine Ashton is visiting the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) – an EU Agency based in Torrejón de Ardoz near Madrid.
The latest developments in Turkey and a review of the EU's foreign policy service, the European External Action Service (EEAS) were two key issues debated in the European Parliament this week.
The 5th World Congress Against the Death Penalty will take place in Madrid, on 12-15 June 2013. It is organised by ECPM (Ensemble contre la Peine de Mort), under the sponsorship of Spain, Norway, Switzerland and France and in partnership with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. Previous World Congresses had taken place in Strasbourg (2001), Montreal (2004), Paris (2007) and Geneva (2010).
The European Union and Russia are not only neighbours, but also strategic partners. The 31st EU-Russia summit bears witness to the importance both sides attach to this strategic partnership.
The promotion of peace and the prevention of conflict have been key drivers in the development of the European Union, as recognised by the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.After preparatory workshops in Paris, Berlin and Sofia, top policy makers and practitioners from the EU, the United Nations and civil society gathered at the European Parliament on May 29th for a high level conference to examine the specific contribution of the European Union to peace mediation.
The crisis in Syria and whether to lift the EU arms embargo against Syria dominated the monthly meeting of 27 EU Foreign Affairs Ministers chaired by Catherine Ashton. They discussed the latest developments with respect to the Syrian crisis and repeated the EU's call for the end of all violence.
2013 is expected to be a significant year for the Eastern Partnership. Ahead of the summit in November, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Štefan Füle together with foreign ministers of Visegrad countries met foreign ministers from the Partnership countries in Krakow on 17 May to discuss progress towards key milestones.
An International Donors Conference in Brussels on 15 May 2013 brought together the International community to help rebuild Mali. After the conference the organisers, the European Union, French President François Hollande and Mali's acting President Dioncounda Traoré set out the steps ahead for the trouble country.
Following an invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, the European Union has established a mission to observe the general elections scheduled for 11 May 2013.
The symposium "Transatlantic Partners in Global Security: The EU's Common Security & Defence Policy" takes place on Wednesday May 8, 2013 in Washington, DC, in partnership with the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Today, Friday 3rd May is World Press Freedom Day. The EU pays tribute to journalists worldwide who dedicate their lives - sometimes at great personal cost - to reporting events or expressing views that many might prefer to silence.
On 9 May 2013 Europe will celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. Sixty-three years ago, on 9 May 1950, the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made the first move towards the creation of what we now know as the European Union (EU).
The General Affairs Council (GAC) and the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) were held in Luxembourg on Monday 22 April. High Representative Catherine Ashton briefed EU Foreign Ministers on last week's Serbia – Kosovo deal. The agreement paves the way for the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.
After ten rounds of often grueling talks in the EU-facilitated Dialogue, the breakthrough that many had hoped for came on Friday 19 April. Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative who has chaired the talks, announced that Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi had reached a landmark agreement.
Following an invitation from the Government of the Republic of Paraguay and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the European Union has sent a mission to observe the 21 April elections in Paraguay.
Getting more women involved in the political process and raising awareness of the Sahel region are just two ideas that came out of a high level EEAS-UN conference held in Brussels on 9 April.
World Water Day 2013 complements the International Year of Water Cooperation, by focusing on the theme of cooperation around water
European Union foreign ministers will gather at historic Dublin Castle on Friday and Saturday (22 and 23 March) for their biannual informal meeting – also known as the 'Gymnich', after the castle in Germany where the first such informal was held in 1974.
Egypt, North Korea, Syria, Mali, Ukraine and the EU-China relations were amongst the key foreign policy items on the European Parliament's plenary agenda this week.
It is with the greatest sadness that EU Delegation in Syria informs European External Action Service staff that their dear colleague and friend Ahmad Shihadeh passed away on Tuesday 12 March 2013. Ahmad was tragically killed during a rocket attack on the Damascus suburb of Deraya, where he lived.
March 8 marks International Women's Day. This year Women's Day recognizes global commitment to put an end to violence against women, with the theme: "A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women".
The relationship between Burma/Myanmar and the European Union seems to be entering a new and more fruitful phase. Not so long ago the military run regime was the subject of EU sanctions but a new reformist president U Thein Sein has opened Burma/Myanmar to the world.
The 16th European Union-Ukraine Summit took place in Brussels today, Monday 25 February 2013.
The United Nations Human Rights Council gathers for the 22nd session on Monday 25 February. The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.
A comprehensive approach to international issues that encompasses many development, security and political tools,
Involvement in international negotiations and working closely with global partners are at the heart of the EU's support for the UN. That was the message Catherine Ashton delivered to the Security Council on Wednesday 13 February.
Children affected by armed conflict remain among the top human rights priorities of the European Union in the 2012 Human Rights Strategy and its Action Plan . The main reason is that armed conflicts still affects a great number of children and pose serious threats to their survival, development and life opportunities.
A free and open Internet is at the heart of the new Cyber Security Strategy by the High Representative Catherine Ashton and the European Commission. The new Communication is the first comprehensive policy document that the European Union has produced in this area. It comprises internal market, justice and home affairs and the foreign policy aspects of cyberspace issues.
The weekend 1 to 3 February, 2013 marks the 49th Munich Security Conference. On top of this year's agenda are current crises such as in Mali and Syria, transatlantic cooperation in NATO, the role of rising power in international security, cyber security and the responsibility to protect.
The February meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels discussed the situation in Europe southern neighbourhood and the crisis in Mali and reconstruction efforts in Somalia. Speaking after the meeting Catherine Ashton said she had invited Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to speak at the next meeting of foreign ministers.
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is in Peru and Chile this week for a series of bilateral meetings with leaders of Latin American countries and to participate in the EU-CELAC* Summit in Santiago de Chile on 26-27 January 2013.
An extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers held on Thursday on the crisis in Mali, condemned Jihadist aggression, supported France and other member states and agreed to set up a training mission for the Malian Armed Forces. The EU also agreed to accelerate its work to support the African-led military mission to Mali, and offered financial support to it through the African Peace Facility. The EU also agreed to appoint a Special Representative for the Sahel and support Humanitarian efforts to help the stricken civilian population. They also reiterated their support for the EU's strategy for the Sahel.
On Thursday 17 January High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton, met with Prime Minister Dačić and Prime Minister Thaçi for the fourth time to discuss the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.
Once again foreign policy took up most of the European Parliament's agenda this week in Strasbourg. Indeed Members debated topical issues such as the situation in Mali and in Syria but also deliberated on the EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as well as on the recent casualties in textile factory fires, notably in Bangladesh and on the Non-proliferation Treaty Review regarding the establishment of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.
Late last year saw the establishment of a new Foundation – the European Endowment for Democracy. The aim of the EED will be to direct grant-making towards pro-democracy activists and organisations in Europe's Neighbourhood and beyond. A joint project by the European Union and its Member States, the idea originated in a May 2011 Neighbourhood communication and was backed by Foreign Ministers at their meetings in June and September. The Foundation was established in October 2012 and will become operational in Spring 2013.