In the spotlight: 28 June
The new Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy
The High Representative Federica Mogherini presented to all the EU member states the new Global Strategy, entitled “Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe”. The document, requested by the European Council in June 2015, promotes the strengthening of the EU role in the field of foreign and security policy. It sets up the need of adopting a comprehensive approach towards security, including military and anti-terrorism measures, as well as social and economic aspects. The European Council, as highlighted in its conclusions, has fully supported the new Global Strategy, thus encouraging further actions.
EU approves a 500 million euro loan to Tunisia
Beyond the 2.9 billion dollar four-year loan programme already approved by the International Monetary Fund on 20 May, the EU Council has allocated an additional 500 million euro loan on favourable terms to address economic challenges and sustain the economic stabilisation of Tunisia. The loan, planned to be disbursed in three instalments, will have a maximum average maturity of 15 years. In order to access the fund, Tunisia should realise structural reforms and guarantee, under EU supervision, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Signed the US-EU agreement on data protection
The EU and the United States have signed an “umbrella” agreement on data protection. It covers all personal data exchanged between police and criminal justice authorities of the EU member states and the US federal authorities. The agreement, which should be approved by the European Parliament, aims at enhancing US-EU bilateral cooperation in the field while, at the same time, providing safeguards and guarantees of the legality of data transfers.
EU increases EUCAP Sahel mission’s budget
The Council has increased the budget of the EU mission EUCAP Sahel of about 5 million euros, by bringing it to 19 million for 2016. Following the 21 March attack against the headquarters of the command of EUTM Mali in Bamako, this decision will strengthen safe working conditions for the staff involved, and will enhance the ability of the mission to support Malian security sector reform. EUCAP Sahel Mali was launched on 15 April 2014.
Change of command at NATO JFC Naples
US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard took command of NATO Allied Joint Force Command Naples and US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, thus succeding to US Navy Admiral Mark Ferguson.
New migration partnership framework
The Commission has announced the plan of creating a new migration partnership framework to better structuring EU action and resources in its external work on managing migration. The new framework foresees the achievement of ad hoc agreements with third countries of origin and transit to save lives at sea, increase returns, and sustain the development of third countries, thus addressing root causes of irregular migration.
New mission commander for EUTM Mali
Brigadier General Eric Harvent, a Belgian national, has been appointed as mission commander for the EU mission in Mali (EUTM Mali). On 3 July, he will take over from Brigadier General Werner Albl, who has held the post since December 2015.
EU measures against cybercrime
EU Justice Ministers set out practical measures to further improve criminal justice in cyberspace. Three main areas of work have been identified: streamlining mutual legal assistance (MLA) proceedings; improving cooperation with service providers; starting discussions on possible connecting factors for enforcement jurisdiction in cyberspace.
Airspace agreement between NATO and the Baltic states
NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow and the Ministers of Defence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have signed an agreement on airspace management, in order to strenghten NATO surveillance capabilities in the Baltic skies.
EULEX Kosovo mandate expanded
The Council has extended the mandate of the EU mission in Kosovo until 14 June 2018 and has approved the budget of 63.6 million euro (34.5 until 14 December 2016 for its operations and 29.1 until 14 June 2017 for the specialist chambers and the specialist prosecutor office). The mission, launched in 2008, aims at assisting and supporting the Kosovo authorities in the rule of law area, namely in police, judiciary and customs areas.
NATO assistance package for Ukraine
NATO Defence Ministers have agreed on a new comprehensive package of assistance for Ukraine, aiming at strengthening security structures in the country. The package is added to the six trust funds for Ukraine, that are already financing projects related to command and control, cyber defence and rehabilitation of injured military personnel.
EU agreement on traceability processes for conflict minerals
After negotiations with the Commission and the Parliament, the Council reached a political agreement on the adoption of an EU regulation to fight the illegal trafficking of conflict minerals through the imposition of a mandatory certification. The central aim is to stop the financing of armed groups through this illegal trade.
EU extended sanctions in response to the annexation of Crimea
The Council has extended the restrictive measures adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia until 23 June 2017. Those sanctions prohibit EU citizens and EU based companies to import products originating in Crimea or Sevastopol, to invest and provide tourism services in this area, as well as to export certain goods and technologies.
EUNAVFOR Med mandate extended and enhanced
The Council has extended until 27 July 2017 the mandate of the EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia, whose central aim is the fight against human smuggling in the Southern Central Mediterranean. Furthermore, the Council has added two new tasks: the training of the Libyan coastguards and navy and the fight against illegal arms trafficking.