European Union – Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 28 May 2018)

The Foreign Affairs Council will take place in Brussels on May 28. The discussions will focus on the following points:

  • Venezuela: The European ministers will send another message of firmness to the Venezuelan authorities while early voting in the presidential elections on May 20, in which much of the opposition was prevented from taking part, was marked by irregularities and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. The Council will adopt conclusions to this effect, endorsing new restrictive measures against close associates of President Maduro;
  • Iran: A few weeks after President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the JCPOA, the Council will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the EU’s unified view and position in support of maintaining this agreement and to signal our determination to do everything possible to preserve it, as long as the Iranians uphold their commitments in this area. The EU is determined to protect its interests and those of its businesses and investors in the face of the extraterritorial effect of US. Sanctions. This discussion will also provide an opportunity to reaffirm the need to address the ballistic missile and regional issues within the framework of a comprehensive approach to Iran;
  • DRC: The Council will address the situation in the DRC and reaffirm that the priority must be the smooth conduct of the elections in accordance with the electoral timetable as part of a free and transparent process;
  • Gaza: The discussions will focus on the situation in the Gaza Strip, following the excessive crackdown on the demonstrations on March 30, in a context in which this territory is sliding inexorably into a humanitarian crisis. In addition to the tensions created over the last few days by the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the ministers will discuss the need to create a political horizon for the peace process and to achieve a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution, including on the status of Jerusalem, principles which represent the EU’s constant position.
  • Post-Cotonou: The Foreign Affairs Council will discuss the draft mandate that will be entrusted to the Commission for the opening of negotiations with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries on the post-2020 renewal of the ACP-EU partnership agreement. These discussions will provide an opportunity for the ministers to reaffirm the goals the EU should strive for with respect to relations with the ACP countries and the need to ensure that these relations are developed within a renewed, modernized and forward-looking framework.

Conclusions will also be adopted on the strengthening of the civilian dimension of the Common Security and Defense Policy, EU security cooperation in and with Asia, the Court of Auditors’ report concerning the election observation missions as well as the EU’s position with respect to combatting the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.