Council Conclusions: The Priority Areas!
Global Strategy on the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy
Luxembourg, 17 October 2016
1. Recalling the European Council conclusions of June 2016 on the Global Strategy on the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS), the Council underlines that this strategy will guide the EU’s external action for the years to come. The Member States are fully committed to its effective and prompt implementation jointly with the High Representative and the Commission. The Council underlines Member States’ ownership and involvement throughout the process.
2. The EUGS represents the EU’s shared vision and the framework for united and responsible external engagement in partnership with others, to advance its values and interests in security, democracy, prosperity and a rules based global order, including human rights and the rule of law.
3. The political vision set out in the EUGS will be swiftly translated into concrete policy initiatives and action, focused on the five priorities for the EU’s external action identified in the strategy: strengthening security and defence; investing in the resilience of states and societies to our East and South; developing an integrated approach to conflicts and crises; promoting and supporting cooperative regional orders; and reinforcing a global governance based on international law, including the principles of the UN Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act.
4. The Council endorses the priority areas for the implementation of the EUGS presented by the HR/VP as set out below. The Council invites the HR and the Commission to take work forward on this basis, including in the relevant preparatory bodies of the Council, drawing on all available instruments and policies in a comprehensive manner.
5. The HR and the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, will now take work forward on: building state, economic and societal resilience in particular in the EU’s neighbours and in wider surrounding regions, including through the European Neighbourhood Policy and other EU instruments; an integrated approach to conflicts and crises, thus contributing to enhancing the EU’s own resilience and that of its citizens; optimising synergies and ensuring coherence between policy responses to challenges straddling the internal and external policies of the Union. The Council highlights in this regard the urgent need to focus on migration as well as counter-terrorism and hybrid threats and the need to support Member States in this regard. The sustainable development goals will be a cross-cutting dimension of all this work. Human rights as well as women, peace and security and gender equality and women’s empowerment will continue to be mainstreamed into all policy areas.
The Council will consider possible revision and update of certain existing strategies, as well as implementation of joined-up actions in such fields as climate diplomacy, energy diplomacy, economic diplomacy and cultural diplomacy as an additional, valuable tool to achieve the goals set out in the EUGS. It stresses the need of joining up efforts in the field of public diplomacy including strategic communication, inside and outside the EU, to speak with one voice and ultimately promote its core values.
6. Follow-up work on security and defence should also be taken forward, in close collaboration with and ensuring full ownership of Member States. An ambitious and realistic implementation plan will be prepared for consideration and decision at the Foreign Affairs Council (including in its Defence composition) in November 2016 and the European Council in December 2016. The Council should indicate an agreed level of civil and military ambition and the concrete action, which could include capability development priorities and deepening cooperation that will enhance EU’s credibility in security and defence and ensure a more responsive civilian and military CSDP. The Council welcomes the Commission’s ongoing work to develop a European Defence Action Plan that will propose instruments in support of priorities to be agreed. This should contribute to ensuring that the European defence technological and industrial base is able to meet Europe’s current and future security needs and, in that respect, could enhance its strategic autonomy, strengthening its ability to act with partners. The Council recalls that these efforts should be inclusive with equal opportunities for defence industry in the EU, balanced and in full compliance with EU law. Work should also be taken forward swiftly and in a complementary way on the implementation of the Joint Declaration signed in Warsaw by the leaders of the institutions of EU and NATO, in full respect of decision-making autonomy of both organisations and based on the principle of inclusiveness.
7. The Council welcomes the HR/VP’s decision to submit a first yearly implementation report of the EUGS in June 2017.
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