“This was the first time for me to chair the FAC council in the format of Development Council. It is one of the areas where the EU is a key player with the Member States. It is also a key instrument for prevention of crisis and conflicts, promotion and protection of human rights and democracy. It is also an excellent tool to manage post crisis and post conflict situations but also to prevent crisis.
During the Council, we discussed on working methods with Ministers, just like we did with Foreign, Defence and Trade ministers. We are trying to make better use of formats of these councils. We want to integrate and coordinate the work of external action between the Commission and Council. There will be European Council next week. In a few minutes, Council will discuss the report on Ebola with Commissioner Stylianides. This will also be discussed by Foreign Affairs ministers and Heads of State and Government next week.
Post 2015 was on our agenda. We introduced new working methods by having a working dinner with Amina Mohamed, Special advisor to UN Secretary General Bam Ki Moon. She introduced the UN synthesis report on post 2015 and this was an excellent chance to share ideas. It facilitated a lot our discussion today in Council on this topic and to adopt the Council Conclusions on this subject. Thanks to the work of the Italian Presidency, we can also say today that the EU is now speaking with one voice on post 2015. This has not always been the case in the past. Today that is the case. This allows us to exercise our responsibilities in this field. The EU is a key player in the United Nations. We are working on a universal agenda. Having the EU united to support the post 2015 means that we are ready to take responsibilities not only in external policies but also in internal policies. The post 2015 agenda will include measures that will be relevant both for national and international policies. The principle is to leave no one behind, not only in some parts of the world but in all parts of the world. EU and Member States will work together with Commissioners and Ministers with internal portfolios, with Finance Ministers and Commissioners with responsibility on the budget for instance.
The other key role that the EU can play with post 2015 process, now that we can loudly speak with one voice, is to reach out to the general public. For this, we count on the strong relations we have with NGOs and Civil Society Organisations to reach out to the general public. We have to get out of the development bubble and to communicate the importance of the strategies that we are working on for the citizens.
The third element for the EU’s key role in post 2015 is the possibility for the EU to be a bridge builder with other parts of the world. We need to overcome the North South approach to eradicate poverty. We need to move from this paternalistic approach to a purely partnership based approach.
Let me underline two other points. Thanks to the Italian presidency, we have for the first time in FAC DEV adopted council conclusions on migration and development. Migration is usually discussed from the security and justice point of view but migration has strong links to development and foreign policy. For the first time we managed to tackle this aspect; this is in itself a major achievement. I will build on this step that opened a door. Starting from early next year, I will follow up on the Council conclusions by coordinating the work of the group of Commissioners for External affairs, but also other Commissioners like Commissioner Avramopoulos, to integrate the different sides of our approach to migration and refugees. The focus on refugees and managing flows of refuges is obviously key.
I now pass the floor to Commissioner Mimica.
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