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Outcome of EU Foreign Affairs Council discussion on Terrorism and Russia

The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council discussed how foreign policy can complement the fight against terrorism within the EU. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said: “For the first time, there was a real awareness that we need to work together to fight a common threat. We took a decision within the Foreign Affairs Council to cooperate in a much more active way than it has been the case so far.”

The Council concluded that actions should be taken on different levels, from security level – strengthened exchange of information, not only between the member states, but also with partner countries, and exchanges of best practices will be part of that – to reinforced cooperation with Arab and Mediterranean countries on countering terrorism and redoubling efforts on open conflicts and crises. Mogherini stated that “we must build an alliance, a dialogue with these countries as we are facing common challenges”. The February Foreign Affairs Council will give full recommendations for the meeting of EU heads of state and government on 12 February

The Council also focussed on current relations with Russia.  It seems there will be no change to the current strategy concerning Russia. Mogherini said: “Starting a strategic debate does not mean and has not meant changing the course of our relations with Russia. We stay the course.” She underlined that relations can only be changed if and when the Minsk commitments are implemented. Ministers agreed the need to reinforce diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the Ukrainian crisis.

Political dialogue with Russia on global crises will be continued. Options for sectorial dialogues with Russia will be explored at technical level in a limited number of areas, such as energy. “We were united and we still are united,” the High Representative added. “There is no back to business as usual in any way.” The Foreign Affairs Council will revert to this issue, including the question of strategic communication, before the March European Council.

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