Foreign Minister Soini to Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg and Council of Europe in Strasbourg
The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will meet in Luxembourg on 8 April. Finland's representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. Items on the agenda include Afghanistan, Eastern Partnership and Venezuela.
The discussion on Afghanistan will focus on the peace process. The Council will talk about the plan presented by High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini concerning EU support for the peace process. Finland considers it important that the peace process is inclusive, with the participation of women as a particularly high priority.
The Eastern Partnership of the EU celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year. The April Foreign Affairs Council will prepare for the Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in May between the EU and its Eastern European Partners Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The ministers will also discuss the future of the Eastern Partnership, i.e. the post-2020 agenda. Finland stresses that the support for social reforms in the Eastern European Partners must continue, including measures to eradicate corruption and promote the rule of law.
Over lunch the ministers will discuss the current political situation in Venezuela. President of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó declared himself interim President of Venezuela on 23 January, but Nicolás Maduro’s administration is still in power. The key objective for the EU is a political process that will enable to organise new elections in accordance with the Venezuelan constitutional order. Finland also considers it important that humanitarian aid reaches those who need it the most.
From Luxembourg Foreign Minister Timo Soini will travel to Strasbourg, France to attend the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on 8 April. At the PACE plenary session Foreign Minister Soini will deliver a speech, followed by an opportunity for the PACE representatives to ask questions. Finland holds the Presidency of the Council of Europe from 21 November 2018 to 17 May 2019. Finland's Presidency will culminate with the Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Helsinki from 16 to 17 May 2019, bringing together all the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe
Inquiries: Katja Kalamäki, Diplomatic Adviser to Foreign Minister Soini, tel. +358 295 351 518; Matti Nissinen, European Correspondent, tel. +358 295 351 780; and Merja Lahtinen, Desk Officer, Team Leader for Council of Europe Presidency, tel. + 358 295 350 971
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.