Minister Czaputowicz attends Foreign Affairs Council
The Eastern Partnership as well as the situation in Afghanistan and Venezuela were the main topics of today’s Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, which brought together EU foreign ministers.
The discussion on the Eastern Partnership took place in the context of preparations for the ministerial meeting planned for 13 May in Brussels to mark the programme's 10th anniversary.
The chief of Polish diplomacy stressed that the Partnership has been a success in spite of the unfavourable conditions, including the Russian aggression in Ukraine. "We want the Partnership to go from strength to strength. We support an ambitious vision of its future after 2020," said Minister Czaputowicz. He pointed out the need to further develop this strategic initiative, among others with regard to the continued approximation of laws of the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU in the framework of implementing association agreements and enhancing sectoral cooperation.
"We would also like to have a certain institutionalisation of the Eastern Partnership," the foreign minister said during a media briefing after the meeting. "We have proposed to set up an Eastern Partnership Secretariat and to introduce a presidency in the framework of the EaP," he added. The minister said that the Eastern Partnership should maintain separate funding in the post-2020 EU Multiannual Financial Framework as an important element of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Today's meeting also discussed the state of peace negotiations and preparations for Afghanistan's presidential elections scheduled for autumn and adopted conclusions on this matter. Minister Czaputowicz expressed his support for the EU's active involvement in all stages of the peace process. "To achieve a lasting peace, dialogue is needed between all major political forces, with the Afghan government at the centre of the process," he emphasised. The minister also welcomed the recent visit to Kabul by High Representative Federica Mogherini. "This is a strong and positive sign of the EU's support for Afghanistan," he said. The head of the Polish MFA noted the need to increase support for the Afghan government with regard to the protection of human rights in this country, and recalled that the North Atlantic Alliance plays a key role in security matters. "Poland has a military contingent in Afghanistan as part of NATO forces," he added.
Today, the Council has also discussed the tense situation in Venezuela and the outcome of the International Contact Group meeting, which took place in Quito on 28 March. The officials underlined the need to continue diplomatic efforts to end the crisis and the willingness to provide an appropriate response depending on further developments.
The tense situation in Libya was another item on the agenda. "We are in favour of a de-escalation of the conflict, with the UN playing the central role, and the EU maintaining a unified position," Poland's foreign minister told the press.
In the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council, Minister Jacek Czaputowicz met with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The head of the Polish foreign ministry outlined follow-up actions taken as part of the Warsaw Middle East process. He also expressed his satisfaction with the intensity of Polish-British meetings at various levels and stressed the support for the UK government's efforts to avoid a no-deal Brexit scenario.
MFA Press Office
Photo: Gabriel Piętka / MFA