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Friday, 24 September 2010

Internal Arrangements to imrpove the European Union's external policy

The European Council held in Brussels on 16 September 2010 reached the following conclusions on the Internal Arrangements to imrpove the European Union's external policy:
a) Looking at concrete measures to more generally improve the functioning of the European Union's external policy, the European Council calls for a more integrated approach, ensuring that all relevant EU and national instruments and policies are fully and coherently mobilised, consistent with the provisions of the Treaties, in support of the European Union's strategic interests. The importance of issues like climate change, energy policy, trade, development or Justice and Home Affairs issues, including migration and visa policy in dealings with partners and at a multilateral level must be fully taken into account in preparations for summits and international events. In this regard the European Union should further enhance the coherence and complementarity between its internal and external policies. The practice of holding orientation debates well before summits should be further developed, with a particular emphasis on setting priorities and concrete tasking.
b) Synergies need to be developed between the European Union's external relations and Member States bilateral relations with third countries, so that, where appropriate, what is done at the level of the European Union complements and reinforces what is done at the level of the Member States and vice versa. There should be more active and regular sharing of information and consultation on developments at the respective levels, on the basis of a running calendar of EU and Member States' summits with major strategic partners.
c) Close and regular coordination between all the different institutional actors involved in the definition and implementation of the European Union's external relations is necessary to ensure that EU representatives can defend coherent positions on the whole range of the strategic interests and objectives of the Union.
d) Much progress has been achieved in the preparation, at the level of the European Union, for multilateral summits, notably through the practical arrangements reached between the President of the European Council and the President of the Commission on the EU representation in the G8 and G20 structures. It invites them to continue to work towards improving the way in which the European Union projects its views in such fora.
e) The European Union needs a clear picture of the particular issues arising from relations with the individual partner States. It needs to develop medium-term planning that sets out objectives to be reached over time, with each summit concentrating on two or three core issues. The European Council therefore asks the High Representative, in coordination with the Commission and with the Foreign Affairs Council, to evaluate the prospects of relations with all strategic partners, and set out in particular our interests and possible leverage to achieve them. The High Representative is invited to present a first progress report on this work to the December 2010 European Council. In this context, there should be a reflection on the frequency, format and output of those summits, which need to be better targeted towards reaching EU objectives. The European Council invites its President, in cooperation with the President of the Commission and the High Representative, to take any necessary initiatives with a view to improving the process.
f) The European External Action Service will be a crucial tool in support of the efforts towards enhancing the European Union's external policy. At service level, it will, under the authority of the High Representative, provide support to the European Council, the Council and the Commission concerning the strategic overview and coordination necessary to ensure the coherence of the European Union's external action as a whole.

SOurce: Council of the EUropean Union