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The Council is expected to discuss preparation for the EU Summits with China and India on 28 and 30 November respectively. The Government want the Joint Statements for the Summits to cover climate security, including a commitment to work towards a low carbon future and a successful outcome at the UN climate change Conference in Bali, 3-14 December 2007. The
Government will also want the Summits to discuss Burma and to encourage all neighbours to bring their influence to bear on contributing towards a democratic and stable Burma.
The Council is expected to discuss preparation for the EU Summit with Africa on 8 December including the endorsement of the EU Africa Joint Strategy and the Action Plan, which the Government support, and discussion of governance and human rights issues at the Summit. The Government will argue for a substantive discussion of these issues, including the situation in Zimbabwe.
The Council is expected to discuss the State of Emergency in Pakistan. The Government believe it is important the EU maintains pressure on President Musharraf to restore the Constitution, as set out in the EU Declaration of 6 November.
The Council is expected to discuss an Action Plan outlining ways the EU can provide further practical support to the Middle East Peace Process, which the Government welcome. The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions highlighting support for the Annapolis meeting in late November.
High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, is expected to brief the Council on his contacts with the Iranian authorities, and his report to E3+3 Ministers (Germany, France, UK, China, Russia and the US), which we expect him to deliver before the GAERC. Ministers are expected to reaffirm the commitment they made at the October GAERC to consider, after recommendations from Working Groups, the further steps the EU can take to support the agreed twin track international approach to the Iranian nuclear issue. The Government believe it is crucial that Iran complies with its international obligations and the twin track approach is the best way to achieve this goal.
The Council is expected to discuss EU engagement with Iraq. The Government welcome discussion of the EU's financial, technical and political support towards a secure and stable Iraq. It also welcomes Foreign Minister Zebari's invitation to the Council and the opportunity this presents for the EU to step up its engagement.
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger is expected to brief the Council on progress in talks between the Troika (EU, Russia and US) and Belgrade and Pristina to secure a negotiated settlement on the status of Kosovo. The Council is likely to adopt Conclusions reaffirming its support for ongoing efforts by the Troika to reach agreement on a status settlement in Kosovo and reiterating its support for High Representative Miroslav Lajcak in
advancing key reforms in Bosnia. The Government fully support the efforts by the Troika to find agreement, but will emphasise the importance of the EU being prepared to act in the event agreement is not possible by December 10.
The Council is expected to discuss recent events in Georgia. The Government welcome this discussion, given the recent developments, including the declaration of a State of Emergency by President Saakashvili in Georgia.
The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) on current operations and missions, capability development including the European Defence Agency, Human Rights Issues and cooperation between the EU and the African Union in Strengthening African Capabilities.
The Council is expected to discuss the upcoming EU mission to Chad / Central African Republic, including Force Generation for the mission. The Council is also expected to discuss the security situation in Sudan/Darfur, drawing on the ESDP Council Conclusions reaffirming the EU's support for ongoing efforts by the UN and African Union to resolve the conflict in Darfur and welcoming the forthcoming deployment of UN AMID, the UN/African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur. The Government welcome the Conclusions, strongly supporting the need for a comprehensive and regional approach.
The EDA Steering Board also meets on 19 November and is expected to agree the Agency's 2008 Work Programme. Ministers will also discuss the European Defence Research and Technology Strategy Framework and the Agency's benchmarks.
The political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has deteriorated over the last year, leading the EU to postpone signature of BiH's Stabilisation and Association Agreement (the first of many steps towards EU membership) in October 2007, following the collapse of police reform talks. The Government believe the EU and the international community should continue to encourage leaders in Bosnia to exercise restraint and to continue to engage in dialogue with each other and with the High Representative.
The Council is expected to discuss EUFOR Althea, the EU military peacekeeping operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in light of these recent political developments. The Government support EUFOR remaining at current levels during this period of uncertainty.
The Council will be briefed on the Headline Goal Progress Catalogue. This represents the finalisation of four years' of work from first instigation of the Headline
Goal 2010 through the production of the Requirements Catalogue in 2005, the bidding stage in 2006 and finally the complex analysis of the shortfalls and risks that has been undertaken by the EU Military Staff and Headline-Goal Task Force managed by successive Presidencies. The Government want EU Member States to focus on how to prioritise these shortfalls and decide where to invest resources. We will call for further consultation and cooperation with NATO and for work on improving the EU's Intra-Theatre Transport capability.
The Council will adopt Conclusions on Development and Security in four areas: Strategic Planning, Security Sector Reform, the EU-Africa partnership on Security and Development and Humanitarian Aid. The Government support the ongoing process in the EU to reinforce the Security-Development nexus and will focus on ensuring delivery of an implementation plan and call for follow up during successive Presidencies.
The Council is expected to focus on the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership and action plans in advance of the EU Africa Summit on 8 December. Ministers will discuss the consequences and impacts of the strategy on EU external action, on the basis of a Presidency paper. The Government will push for agreement of the strategy and action plans and continues to push for action on Millennium Development Goals, climate change and peace and security. We expect Member States to be supportive of the strategic partnership and its goals, and to commit to implementation of the strategy.
The Council will adopt Conclusions on the development of an EU policy and improved practices on the situation of Fragile States. The EU's response to fragile situations is critical as fragile states pose a great challenge, both in terms of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and in terms of global and regional security. The Government support the implementation of the measures proposed in the Commission's communication to increase coordination and coherence.
The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions on policy coherence for development, including on climate change and migration. The discussion is expected to focus on the launch of the EU's first two-yearly report, reporting on the extent to which EU Member States have fulfilled their commitments to integrate development concerns within broader policymaking and highlighting key outstanding issues for the next reporting period.
The Council will discuss the Commission's Communication on Economic Partnership Agreements. The core of the Commission's strategy is to agree goods-only agreements this year ahead of the deadline on the 1 January before returning to services and other trade related areas in the future. The Government want
to ensure that EPAs deliver on their development potential. The Government will also want to make clear that the African Caribbean and Pacific countries should not be bound to taking commitments on non-goods issues. It is their choice to negotiate on those elements.
The Council is expected to discuss the Advancing African Agriculture Strategy proposal for continental and regional-level cooperation on agricultural development in Africa, which the Government support. A better aligned and coherent EU response will help Africa to achieve its goal of agricultural-led growth, a more predictable response to dealing with hunger, and be better equipped to respond to the challenges presented by climate change.
The Council is expected to discuss a Partnership between the EU and the Republic of Cape Verde, a small Portuguese speaking island off the coast of West Africa. In line with the Cotonou Agreement this anticipates that Cape Verde will become a partner in increased police and judicial cooperation with Europe.
EU Member States need to ratify the revised EU's Partnership Agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (known as the 'Cotonou Agreement') and the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), by the end of 2007 in order for both to come into effect. Member States who have not already done so will be encouraged to conclude their ratification processes as soon as possible. The Government completed their ratification process in September.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Meg Munn): Subject to Parliamentary approval of any necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) will be increased by £48,122,000 from £1,840,333,000 to £1,888,455,000. The administration budget will be increased by £14,000 from £870,046,000 to £870,060,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
|*The total of Administration budget and Near-cash in Resource DEL figures may well be greater than total resource DEL, due to the definitions overlapping.|
**Capital DEL includes items treated as resource in Estimates and accounts but which are treated as Capital DEL in budgets.
***Depreciation, which forms part of resource DEL, is excluded from the total DEL since capital DEL includes capital spending and to include depreciation of those assets would lead to double counting.
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