EU Foreign Affairs Council meets in Brussels
The EU Foreign Ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday 13 December. State Secretary Johanna Sumuvuori will represent Finland at the meeting. The Foreign Affairs Council will focus on EU-Africa relations, Central Asia and Venezuela. During a working lunch, ministers will have an informal exchange with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. Under current affairs, the Council will discuss topics including Belarus, Varosha, Ethiopia and Ukraine.
The Foreign Affairs Council will hold a comprehensive discussion on key themes relating to Africa cooperation, such as security, health and democratic development. The aim is to shift the focus from development cooperation towards a partnership that is more comprehensive, more equal and genuinely political and economic in nature. The EU must be a strong, reliable and consistent partner for the African Union and African countries.
The Ministers will also discuss the EU’s cooperation in Central Asia. The countries in the region have expressed concerns about the regional security impacts of the situation in Afghanistan, which have increased the need for cooperation, dialogue and the EU’s commitment in the region. The EU’s objectives in Central Asia have a strong emphasis on democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Finland supports the strong role of the EU and the efforts to intensify cooperation with the countries in the region.
The meeting will discuss the regional and local elections held in Venezuela on 21 November. The debate will focus on the elections’ impact on the negotiations between Venezuela’s government and the opposition. The EU has shown its support for Venezuelan civil society and maintained dialogue with the government and the opposition to resolve the political crisis.
During an informal lunch meeting, the Foreign Ministers will meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. The discussion is expected to focus on Afghanistan. There are problems in Qatar’s human rights situation and the conditions of migrant workers, but the country played a key role in the evacuations from Kabul in August and has made it possible to maintain a dialogue with the Taliban. The aim of EU-Qatar cooperation in Afghanistan is to improve the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the country. Finland opened an Embassy in Doha, Qatar, on 10 December.
Matti Nissinen, European Correspondent, tel. +358 295 351 780