Statement by Minister of State Kitt to the Joint Committee on European Affairs (Part III)
EU-LAC: Preparation for Summit on 28 May 2004
The Third EU-Latin America/ Caribbean Summit takes place in Guadalajara, Mexico, in just over two weeks, on 28 May. It will be jointly chaired by the Taoiseach and President Fox of Mexico. This month’s Council will review preparations for this Summit, which is an important event in the EU’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. Two over-arching themes have been chosen for the Summit: ‘Effective Multilateralism’ and ‘Social Cohesion’. The Summit also takes place against the background of ongoing negotiations between the EU and Mercosur on a comprehensive Association Agreement and the demands by the countries of Central America and the Andean Community for a date to be set for the opening of negotiations for similar Association Agreements with their respective regions.
EU-Russia: Preparation for Summit on 21 May 2004
The Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs will attend the EU-Russia Summit which President Putin will host in Moscow on 21 May. Commission President Prodi and High Representative Solana will also attend on the EU side. Next week’s Council will take note of the current state of preparations for the Summit. However, work with Russia will continue beyond the Council, right up until the eve of the Summit. The extension, on 27 April, of the EU-Russia Partnership and Co-operation Agreement to the ten new EU Member States was a significant achievement on an issue which had dominated the EU-Russia agenda for some time. This has created a positive climate for the meeting, which will be the first EU-Russia Summit following EU enlargement and President Putin’s re-election for a second term.
Syria: Association Agreement
This month’s Council will also consider the question of an Association agreement with Syria. The Barcelona Process is the cornerstone of the EU’s dealings with the countries of the Mediterranean. Through it, the EU has developed dialogue with its Mediterranean Partners in the political, economic and social spheres. The EU Association Agreements are key components of the structures through which this dialogue takes place. The EU has concluded Association Agreements with all its Euromed partners, except for Syria. Agreement has been reached on almost all elements of an Association Agreement with Syria. The only outstanding issue is the wording of a non-proliferation clause in the agreement. In November 2003, the Council called for the inclusion in all third party agreements of a clause providing for co-operation in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction and their means of delivery. The Syrian Agreement will be the first Euromed Association Agreement with such a clause.
In an effort to conclude the negotiations the Presidency has proposed compromise language which will give effect to the intentions of the non-proliferation policy of the EU. It is hoped that next week’s Council can agree a way forward based on this approach.
MEETINGS IN THE MARGINS OF THE COUNCIL
There are a number of meetings due to be held in the margins of the Council.
14th Meeting of the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council
The 14th Meeting of the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council Joint Ministerial will take place on the evening of Monday, 17 May. Minister Cowen chair the Council as Presidency. Items to be discussed include the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement and progress in negotiations for an EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement. Ministers will exchange views on recent developments in the EU and the GCC, the Middle East Peace Process, the EU Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Terrorism, Human Rights and Non-Proliferation Issues.
Seventh EU-Ukraine Co-operation Council
Minister Cowen will also chair the seventh EU-Ukraine Co-operation Council, on 18 May. Commissioner Patten and Ambassador Tom de Bruijn will also attend on the EU side. Prime Minister Yanukovych will lead the Ukrainian delegation. This Co-operation Council follows the recent meeting of the EU-Ukraine Foreign Ministers’ Troika in Dublin on 29 April. A wide range of issues will be discussed during the formal Co-operation Council and the subsequent dinner. Internal political and economic developments in Ukraine, developments in the EU, the European Neighbourhood Policy, EU-Ukraine relations and international issues all appear on the agenda.
I am happy to take questions from Members of the Committee on the agenda items due for discussion at the forthcoming Council. Top