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Observatory on European defence, October 2015


In the spotlight: 15 October
EU-Turkey joint action plan on refugees

EU and Turkey have decided to coordinate their efforts to face the common challenges posed by the Syrian crisis, whose civil war has sparked unprecedented migratory flows towards Europe. In Brussels, the EU and Turkish representatives have signed a joint action plan envisaging a series of measures to address the current situation. These include: supporting Syrians under temporary protection and their host communities in Turkey, as well as strengthening cooperation to prevent irregular migration flows to the EU. The EU has also committed to provide new funds to support Turkey’s latest reception of Syrian refugees. Turkey and the EU will jointly identify priorities and areas where funds should be allocated. On the same note, Turkey will aim at: enhancing the implementation of domestic legislation on foreigners and international protection, registering migrants and implementing programs facilitating their access to basic public services. As it regards irregular migration, the EU-Turkey cooperation is oriented towards supporting Turkish authorities in their fight against migrants’ smugglers and enhancing procedures for implementing return operations of irregular migrants.

1 October
Gilmore as EU Envoy for the peace process in Colombia

The High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has appointed the former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ireland, Eamon Gilmore, as EU Envoy for the peace process in Colombia. Mr Gilmore’s direct involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process facilitate his new duties Mr. Gilmore’s mission is to establish a dialogue with all parties in Colombia, facilitate the coordination of EU action and the peace process-related initiatives, and contribute to the smooth implementation of future peace agreements, in cooperation with other key regional and international actors.

1 October
Burundi: new EU sanctions

The escalation of violence in Burundi, caused by the political crisis started in April, has prompted the Council of the EU to adopt sanctions – travel restrictions and an asset freeze – against four persons whose actions are undermining democracy and thwarting efforts to achieve a political solution to the current crisis. These measures are part of the EU’s plan in support of the effort by the international community, particularly those of the East African Community and the African Union, to achieve a lasting political solution in Burundi.

8 October
More cooperation on munitions

Belgium and the Netherlands have signed a Letter of Intent for a Smart Defence effort on the multinational provision of air-to-ground precision-guided munitions. The project, a Danish-led initiative launched in September 2014 in the margins of the NATO Wales Summit, aims at enabling Allies to efficiently address all aspects of their air-to-ground precision guided munitions requirements, including procurement programs and management of munitions inventories.

8 October
Council: new funds for refugees

The Council of the EU has approved additional financial assistance from the 2015 EU budget in response to the migration crisis. The new funds include: 300 million of euros to the European Neighbourhood Instrument in order to support third countries hosting Syrian refugees; 100 million of euros in emergency funds provided under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and the Internal Security Fund (ISF); and 55.7 million of euros for humanitarian aid. The Council has also opened 120 job positions in the three EU agencies working on migration-related areas: Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office, and Europol. Finally, the Council has approved the Commission’s proposal to add new funds to fulfill the most urgent needs of the Syrian population and of displaced persons in Iraq and refugee hosting countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and the Western Balkans.

12 October
NATO-Czech Republic agreement on cyber

A new Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by NATO and the Czech Republic to enhance cyber defence cooperation. Approved by NATO Foreign Ministers in June, the Memorandum is part of the broader Alliance’s cyber defence policy, which does not only imply information sharing but also NATO’s assistance in exercise planning and training.

18 October
Iran, towards the lifting of all EU sanctions

The Council of the EU has adopted the legal acts in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed in Vienna on 14 July. These acts provide for the lifting of all nuclear-related economic and financial EU sanctions. They will take effect with the implementation by Iran of the agreed nuclear-related measures, which will be monitored and verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).