GENERAL AFFAIRS AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS
COUNCIL, LUXEMBOURG, APRIL 2006
Letter from Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP,
Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
The next GAERC will be held in Luxembourg 10-11
April. My Right Honourable Friend the Foreign Secretary will represent
the UK on 10 April with my Honourable Friend Gareth Thomas, Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for International Development, doing
so for a half-day discussion on 11 April. The agenda items to
be covered are as follows:
Financial Perspective: IIA (poss)
Foreign Ministers will discuss progress in the
negotiation for a new Interinstitutional Agreement on the 2007-2013
Financial Perspective in the light of the 4 April Trilogue with
the European Parliament.
External Relations WTO/DDA
The Commission will update the Council on negotiations
in the WTO Round following the trilateral meeting between the
EU, US and Brazil (31 March-1 April) in Rio. At this stage we
do not anticipate Conclusions.
We expect a short discussion of ODIHR's report
on the recent elections. We do not anticipate Conclusions.
The Council will discuss Belarus in the light
of the 19 March Presidential elections and the decision to impose
restrictive measures, agreed in the 7 November and 30 January
Conclusions of the GAERC.
The Council will focus on latest developments.
Conclusions are currently being negotiated.
We expect the EU to continue to call on the
new Palestinian Government to implement the three Quartet principles
as soon as possible. The Quartet stated on 30 March that, having
carefully assessed the programme of the new government approved
on 28 March, it noted with concern that the new government had
not committed to the principles laid out by the Quartet on 30
The Council will discuss the EU's wider relationship
with Iran, taking into account the EU's areas of concern eg the
nuclear file, terrorism, Human Rights and political freedoms,
and Iran's opposition to the MEPP. We expect Conclusions to be
short and to cover the nuclear file.
We expect the Council to discuss given the continuing
debate on government formation in Baghdad. The Foreign Secretary
will want to update Partners on his recent joint visit with US
Secretary of State Rice on 2-3 April. We do not expect Conclusions.
This is on the GAERC agenda as part of work
to review the EU's Sustainable Development Strategy. The UK wants
to see a single coherent Strategy that effectively communicates
the Community's internal and external sustainable development
objectives. Most interested Council formations are scheduled to
As Member States are providing written views
to the Presidency, we do not anticipate lengthy discussion at
the Council. Adoption of the revised Strategy is planned for the
June European Council.
AOB: UN Reform
This is on the agenda at Sweden's request. They
have played a key role in UN reform issues, and their newly-appointed
Foreign Minister, Jan Eliasson, has been President of the General
Assembly since the World Summit last September.
The UK supports the work of Eliasson, continues
to remain engaged on the breadth of UN reform issues, and is equally
keen to maintain the necessary pressure and momentum in New York.
We expect discussion at the Council to be short.
EU Strategy for the Caribbean
The Council is expected to agree Conclusions
on the Commission Communication on the EU-Caribbean partnership
for growth, stability and development.
10th EDF: Financial Protocol and Internal Agreement
The Presidency will ask the Commission to update
Ministers on progress towards agreeing the implementing documents
related to the 10th EDF. This item may also include an update
on the EU-Africa strategy.
EU Aid Effectiveness Package
The Council is expected to agree Conclusions
on the Commission Communications, which form the EU Aid Effectiveness
package. These Communications are:
Increasing the Impact of EU Aid:
Common framework for drafting country strategy papers and joint
EU Aid: delivering more, better and
Financing for development aid effectivenessThe
challenges of scaling up EU aid 2006-2010
The conclusions will reaffirm and take forward
various EU commitments on financing for development, including
ODA targets, and measures to promote better aid effectiveness,
A common framework for country strategies will be adopted for
community aid and on a voluntary basis for Member State aid.
Council Conclusions will also be adopted on
policy coherence which will invite the Commission and Member States
to prepare a rolling work programme by June 2006 with a view to
adoption by a later Council.
Humanitarian Assistance: coordination and delivery
There will be an exchange of views around coordination
and efficient delivery of humanitarian aid, based on a Presidency
paper. The discussion will be a follow-up to the GAERC debate
in November 2005 by Development Ministers on humanitarian aid
and will focus on three questions covering: reform of the international
humanitarian system, the links between this and UN reform; and
whether the Commission should provide more regular information
on humanitarian issues to Council.
AOB: UN System-wide coherence:
This AOB item has been proposed by the Netherlands.
It will be an opportunity for Council to exchange views on this
topic and discussion is likely to focus around the work of the
Secretary General's Panel on UN System Wide Coherence.
5 April 2006