On 25 March, EU leaders will come together in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which were signed on this day in 1957. Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, will participate in the Rome Summit, where a number of events are being organised to mark the occasion and to reflect on Europe’s common future. This anniversary is a moment to look back on our collective achievements and to discuss the future of the EU at 27. Following the presentation of the Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe, EU leaders are expected to adopt the Rome Declaration, which will feature the Union’s past achievements, present challenges and pledge to work for unity at 27 and strengthen common action in key policy areas, to the benefit of citizens. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Our parents and grandparents founded this Union with one common vision: never again war. It was their strong conviction that breaking down barriers, working together – and not against each other – makes us all stronger. History has proven them right. For 60 years, the values on which this Union is built have not changed: peace, freedom, tolerance, solidarity and the rule of law bind and unite us. They must not be taken for granted and we must fight for them every day. Our democracy, our diversity and our independent and free press are the pillars of Europe’s strength – no individual or institution is above the law. The European Union has changed our lives for the better. We must ensure it continues to do so for those that will follow us. For now, all roads lead to Rome. After Rome and however it is paved, there is only one way forward: European unity.” The Commission will also be organising in the months ahead public debates with the European Parliament and Member States, as well as online consultations, so that Europe’s citizens have their say and are able to share their views on the future of Europe via the Commission Representations and a dedicated website, which will be launched on 25 March. As part of this process, today High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini, together with the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, will take part in a Citizen’s Dialogue in Rome. Follow it live here. For more information on the White Paper process see this timeline.
Today High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Foreign Ministers of the European Union and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla signed the first ever agreement between the EU and Cuba. This Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement constitutes the new legal framework for EU-Cuba relations. It will facilitate an enhanced political dialogue, improved bilateral cooperation and the development of joint action in multilateral fora. The agreement aims to support the transition process of the Cuban economy and society. It promotes dialogue and cooperation to encourage sustainable development, democracy and human rights, and find shared solutions to global challenges. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said: “We are truly at a turning point in the relations between the EU and Cuba. Together, we are moving towards a closer and more constructive partnership, one that reflects strong historic, economic and cultural ties that unite Europe and Cuba. Through the new agreement, the EU is ready to support Cuba’s process of economic and social modernisation, and I am looking forward to further advancing our bilateral relations.” Read also a factsheet and watch a short video on EU-Cuba relations.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini will co-chair the first stand-alone meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on 25 and 26 October 2016 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, together with the incumbent CELAC President, Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic Miguel Vargas Maldonado. The Foreign Ministers from both regions will take stock on the progress of implementing the action plan for the regions, adopted at last year’s Summit in Brussels. The outcomes of this partnership so far include improvements in public safety, the creation of jobs, exchange of students, and action on climate change. Foreign ministers will also sign an agreement establishing the EU-LAC Foundation as an international organisation. This will further advance our partnership by fostering mutual understanding and knowledge as well as linking inter-governmental processes to business, academia and citizens of both regions. At the same time, the European Union will reaffirm its commitment to the Latin American and Caribbean regions and sign new cooperation projects worth €74 million. Overall, the EU will commit over €710 million in key sectors such as climate change, governance, security and inclusive growth. The programmes will support sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean and lead to the improvement of the living conditions of their populations. Furthermore, a EU-CARIFORUM Foreign Ministers meeting will be co-chaired by HR/VP Mogherini, where the participating ministers will discuss the issues of Financing for development and Climate change.
On 13-14 October, the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will travel to Bangkok to attend the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations – European Union (ASEAN-EU) Ministerial Meeting (AEMM). Foreign Ministers from the European Union Member States and ASEAN countries, as well as the ASEAN Secretary-General will also take part. The meeting will take place at a time of increasingly close relations between the European Union and ASEAN, two leading examples of regional integration in the world. Discussions in Bangkok will primarily focus on identifying ways and means for the future upgrading and strengthening of EU-ASEAN relations, as also requested by the EU Foreign Affairs Council in its conclusions of 22 June 2015. Ahead of the visit, HR/VP Mogherini said: “Next year, our European Union and ASEAN will celebrate 40 years of our relations; 40 years during which we have come a very long way. Now is the time for an enhanced partnership between our two regions and I look forward to discussing this with the ASEAN Ministers in Bangkok later this week. There is a lot we can do together for the security, stability and prosperity of, first and foremost our people, of our regions, and also around the world.” The 21st AEMM will be hosted by Thailand as current Country Coordinator for ASEAN’s relations with the European Union. The 22nd ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting will take place in the European Union in 2018. A press conference is foreseen to take place after the Ministerial Meeting at 17h15 local time, and will be broadcast on EbS shortly afterwards.
The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PCDA) opens new avenues to support Cuba’s process of economic and social modernisation, to foster sustainable development, democracy and human rights, as well as to seek common solutions to global challenges. At the same time, the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini transmitted a proposal to the Council to formally repeal the EU’s 1996 Common Position on Cuba. The adoption of both decisions by the Council and the implementation of the PDCA will be a turning point in EU-Cuba relations. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The bilateral Agreement between the EU and Cuba is the result of a fruitful and constructive work the EU and Cuba have done together, and marks the turning point in our relations. This contractual arrangement creates a clear common framework for intensified political dialogue, increased cooperation across a wide range of policy areas, and a precious platform for developing joint action on regional and international issues.”Both proposals will now be reviewed by the Council, before their final adoption and the signature of the PDCA in coming months. A full press release is available online
“On this International Day of Peace, let us keep in mind that all wars can come to an end. Peace is possible – if we don’t lose hope, and we never stop working for it. […] It might take years, but peace is always possible – if we work to make it real. The European Union has proven it, and this is why we will continue to work for peace, all around the world.” Watch the High Representative/Vice-President’s video message on the International Day of Peace here.
From 12 to 18 September embassies around the world are celebrating Climate Diplomacy Week, with events taking place to highlight climate action in the EU and beyond. Conferences, citizens’ debates, exhibitions, films and social media activities aim to encourage informed debate and a joint response to the climate challenge. These events build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement – the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal agreed in Paris last December. The EU played a key role in brokering this deal and is now focusing on ratifying the agreement and putting it into practice on the ground. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini said: “Europe’s security and prosperity are linked to the challenges we face due to climate change and the degradation of our environment. The EU is leading by example through implementing our commitments on sustainable development and climate change and is playing a driving role in supporting partners in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.” Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete added: “Equally as crucial as the ratification of the Paris Agreement is the full implementation on the ground. The EU has a proven track record of commitment to climate action and the policies in place to meet our commitments. But we also have to do our work on ratification: the EU’s ratification of the Paris Agreement would demonstrate solidarity and unity in these challenging times. Let’s get it done!” Follow the activities taking place via #ClimaDiplo.
Tomorrow, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will pay an official visit to Turkey. They will chair the EU Turkey High Level Political Dialogue where they will discuss all issues of common interest and concern with Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and EU Minister Ömer Çelik. A press conference will follow the meeting which will be retransmitted live on EbS. Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn will also attend a ceremony for the victims of the attempted coup. They will reiterate the position of the European Union which unequivocally and immediately condemned the attempted coup against the legitimate and democratically elected institutions. The HRVP and the Commissioner will take this opportunity to stress, once again, once again and as confirmed at the informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Bratislava, the full solidarity to the people and institutions of Turkey and the importance of the rule of law. They will also meet with political authorities and representatives of the main political parties.
World Humanitarian Day marks the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, when 22 humanitarian workers lost their lives. HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Christos Stylianides, made the following statement: “The tragic images of children from Aleppo in Syria sadly show all too clearly the real human suffering of millions of people around the world caught up in humanitarian crises. As the European Union, just yesterday we reiterated the urgent need for all parties to the conflict to restore the cessation of hostilities, ensure the lifting of all sieges and allow sustained, countrywide humanitarian access to those in need in Syria (…). And today, on World Humanitarian Day, we pay special tribute to and honour all humanitarian workers around the globe who are working to help people in need. (…). The European Union is proud to be a world leader in humanitarian assistance and to have helped more than 134 million victims of natural and man-made disasters across more than 80 countries in 2015.” Read the full statement, the MEMO on EU humanitarian action and watch the video statement by Commissioner Stylianides.
The European Commission and the African Union Commission have signed today an agreement on €50 million support from the EU’s “African Peace Facility” to the Lake Chad Basin Commission Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in its fight against Boko Haram. Over the past months, countries of the region have made great efforts in providing a coordinated regional response by deploying the MNJTF under the authority of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. The agreement signed today will further strengthen the regional coordination of the response. The European Union support will allow for the construction and maintenance of MNJTF headquarters in Ndjamena as well as of sector Headquarters in Cameroon and Niger. It will also provide transport and communication assets to the force headquarters, allowing for effective coordination and command of military operations. These assets, including vehicles, aerial transportation and reconnaissance capacities and a command, control, communication and information system, will put the central command in a position to co-ordinate operations among troop in their respective territories and help prevent Boko Haram’s ability to move across borders when fighting uncoordinated bilateral operations. For more information and the Joint Communiqué, see here.