General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC)

  • Date: 18.5.2009 — 19.5.2009
  • Venue: Brussels
  • Category: Council of Ministers
  • Theme: General Affairs and External Relations

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout to chair GAERC

Czech Foreign Minister and EU GAERC President Jan Kohout will chair the meeting of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 18 and 19 May.

The meeting will focus on the preparation of the EU-Russia summit, the situation in Moldova, in Sri Lanka and in Burma/Myanmar. The Ministers will also discuss the current developments in Iran and Georgia.

There will also be a joint meeting of Defence Ministers and Foreign Ministers which will address Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR Althea) and Somalia (Operation Atalanta). In addition to Minister Kohout, the Czech Republic will be represented by Defence Minister Martin Barták.

  • A press conference following the GAERC meeting on 18 May is preliminarily scheduled to take place in the EU Council Building at 15:30.

The meeting of EU Foreign Ministers will be followed by a meeting of Ministers for Development, which will take place on 18 – 19 May. This meeting will also be presided over by Minister Jan Kohout. The main items on the agenda include the “spring package” – support for developing countries during the crisis, transatlantic cooperation in the field of development, agreements on economic partnership (EPA’s) – the current situation, democratic governance – a political dialogue.

  • A press conference will take place in the EU Council building on 19 May at 13:00.

In the context of GAERC, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout will take part in the 47th meeting of the EU-Turkey Association Council.

  • Press conference: 17:00, the EU Council building.

Meeting of Defence Ministers

On 18 May 2009 Brussels will host the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) in the presence of EU Ministers of Defence.

The meeting, chaired by Czech Defence Minister Martin Barták, will be divided into four parts: a meeting of the Steering Committee of the European Defence Agency (EDA) at the level of Defence Ministers, a separate meeting of Defence Ministers, a joint meeting with Foreign Ministers and a working lunch for Defence Ministers.

The meeting of the EDA Steering Committee will focus on existing as well as envisaged projects of EDA aimed at strengthening the development of the EU defence capacity.

The main topics of the separate meeting of Defence Ministers will be EU military operations (ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ATALANTA, the first EU naval operation, which is aimed at fighting piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia, and the EUFOR TCHAD/RCA operation in Chad and the Central African Republic, where the EU transferred command to the UN as of 15 March 2009 (MINURCAT II)) and development of EU´s military capabilities (Capability Development Plan, Force Catalogue, Military ERASMUS).

During the working lunch the ministers will discuss EU cooperation with strategic partners (NATO, the UN and the African Union).

The joint meeting of Defence and Foreign Ministers will assess the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Somalia and its possible developments with a view to further EU involvement.

The agenda also includes a meeting of the Troika (representatives of the current and the following Presidencies, the General Secretariat of the Council and the European Commission) with Defence Ministers of NATO member states that are not EU members (NEEA/Non EU European Allies – Albania, Norway, Turkey, Island) and candidate countries (Croatia, FYROM).

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