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    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    EU-Canada trade negotiating mandate made public

    The Council decided on 15 December 2015 to declassify the directives given to the Commission to negotiate a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Canada. The 2009 negotiating directives, as well as a 2011 modification to allow for talks on investment protection, were made public the same day. The decision was taken without discussion at an extraordinary meeting of the Council, in the margins of a WTO ministerial conference in Nairobi. It was taken by common accord.

    • Council Meeting · Council conclusions
    • Foreign Affairs

    First Council conclusions on the 10th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference Second Council conclusions on the 10th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference

    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    The Luxembourg Presidency at the Foreign Affairs Council – Trade and the 10th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Nairobi from 16 to 19 December 2015

    Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, and the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Romain Schneider, were in Nairobi, Kenya, from 16 to 19 December to chair the European Union's Foreign Affairs (Trade) Council and to attend the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Foreign Affairs, Justice and Home Affairs
    EU - Western Balkans JHA Ministerial Forum – Jean Asselborn welcomes the cooperation on the refugee crisis, but calls for efforts to limit asylum requests in the EU from people coming from the Balkan countries

    The Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs of the Member States of the European Union (EU) and of Western Balkan countries met in Sarajevo on 7 and 8 December 2015 to participate in the annual EU - Western Balkan Ministerial Forum on 'Justice and Home Affairs' (JHA), which this year was dedicated to issues of migration, asylum, security, the fight against terrorism and judicial cooperation.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Foreign Affairs
    Addressing the European Parliament, Nicolas Schmit says the EU-Turkey summit has achieved concrete results

    On 2 December 2015, Nicolas Schmit, the Minister responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU Council, addressed the plenary session of Parliament in Brussels on the results of the EU-Turkey summit held on 29 November 2015. 'This meeting was very timely, because it enabled issues of vital importance for the Union's security' to be dealt with, said Nicolas Schmit, by way of introduction. He believed the meeting had achieved 'concrete results'. Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, stated that we should not be 'ashamed' of the agreement with Turkey, because it is based on a 'shared interest'.

    • Third Country Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs, Justice and Home Affairs
    EU signs visa waiver agreement with Colombia

    On 2 December 2015 the EU signed a short-stay visa waiver agreement with Colombia, at a ceremony that took place in Brussels. On behalf of the EU, the agreement was signed by Jean Asselborn, Minister of Immigration and Asylum of Luxembourg and President of the Council, and by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. On the Colombian side, Maria Angela Holguín, Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the agreement. The new visa regime provides for visa-free travel for EU citizens when travelling to the territory of Colombia and for citizens of Colombia when travelling to the EU, for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Foreign Affairs
    54th meeting of COSAC – enlargement policy is the focus for debates by national representatives

    The theme for the second day of work for the representatives of national parliaments of EU Member States, meeting in Luxembourg on 30 November and 1 December 2015 for the 54th meeting of COSAC (Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union), was the EU's enlargement policy.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Foreign Affairs
    Jean Asselborn has taken stock of the Luxembourg Presidency regarding trade policy before the European Parliament's International Trade Committee

    Jean Asselborn, the Luxembourg Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, visited Brussels on 1 December 2015 to take stock before the European Parliament's International Trade Committee (INTA) of the Luxembourg Presidency's trade policy. In his introduction, the Minister reminded those present of the importance attached by the Presidency to a coherent, responsible and inclusive trade policy. The transparency of the negotiations and the coherence of different policies have also guided the work of the Presidency regarding trade policy, the Minister said.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Justice and Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs
    54th meeting of COSAC – National representatives stressed the importance of solidarity between EU Member States to overcome the challenges linked to the refugees crisis

    Representatives of EU Member States' national parliaments met in Luxembourg for the 54th Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), which took place on 30 November and 1 December 2015. The debates focused on the European agenda on migration, the strategy for a digital market in Europe, and lastly, EU enlargement policy. For the first session devoted to the European agenda on migration, the debates specifically concentrated on common asylum policy and legal migration policy, as well as the fight against illegal migration and external borders security. During the debates, an overwhelming majority of speakers stressed the importance of solidarity between EU Member States to respond to challenges linked to the refugees crisis.

    • Council Meeting · News articles
    • Foreign Affairs

    The "Trade" part of the Foreign Affairs Council chaired by the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, took place in Brussels on 27 November 2015. In the presence of the European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, the Ministers focused on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the United States. They also discussed the preparations for the WTO Ministerial Conference, which will take place in Nairobi in December 2015, and they focused on the negotiations with Mercosur, Japan and the ASEAN countries with a view to concluding free trade agreements. The Ministers further adopted conclusions on the EU's trade and investment policy.

    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    Jean Asselborn will chair the EU

    The Luxembourg Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, will be in Brussels on Friday, 27 November 2015 to chair the EU " Foreign Affairs Council " - European Union Trade. The meeting is part of preparations for the 10 th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO ) which will be held in Nairobi from 15 to 18 December 2015.

    • Third Country Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    Jean Asselborn at the 2nd Political Dialogue Meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Republic of Angola in Luanda

    Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, represented the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, at the 2nd Political Dialogue Meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Republic of Angola in Luanda on 19 November 2015. Within the framework of the cooperation agreement between the European Union and Angola, entitled "Joint Way Forward Angola - European Union", the discussions sought to move the relationship between Angola and the European Union to a higher level by strengthening political dialogue and bilateral cooperation in areas of common interest.

    • Other meeting · News articles
    • Economic and Financial Affairs, Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs, Foreign Affairs
    High-level TTIP conference – Xavier Bettel calls for a comprehensive and qualitative agreement

    The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, together with the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), held a conference in Brussels on 17 November 2015 entitled "TTIP - What's in it for the social partners?". The purpose of the conference, which brought together social partners from the 28 Member States for the first time, was to address different aspects of the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being discussed by the EU and the USA, and in respect of which a number of concerns have been put forward.

    • Council Meeting · Press releases
    • Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs/Defence Council - The Luxembourg Presidency stands with France offering assistance and solidarity

    During the 'Foreign Affairs' Council of the EU in the defence formation held in Brussels on 17 November 2015, the French Minister for Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, invoked the mutual assistance clause (Article 42(7) of the Treaty of Lisbon), which stipulates that in the event of an armed aggression against one of the Member States, the other 'Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power'. During his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence Étienne Schneider declared on behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council: 'Alongside individual and coalition military action against Daesh (IS), which is responsible for these attacks, the European Union must continue to work together to find a political solution, and we must continue to support stronger security systems in friendly countries in the region. The Luxembourg Presidency and Luxembourg stand with and will continue to stand with our French neighbours and friends, offering assistance and solidarity in this time of hardship for their nation. We must not fall into the trap set by Daesh (IS) which seeks to lead us to alienate Muslims in our societies.'

    • Third Country Meeting · News articles
    • Foreign Affairs, Justice and Home Affairs
    In his speech at the Valletta Summit on migration, Xavier Bettel urges ministers to adopt a

    On 11 November, Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, gave a speech at the opening session of the Valletta Summit on migration acting in his capacity as Head of Government for Luxembourg which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. In his speech, Xavier Bettel stated that "Europe is experiencing its greatest migration crisis since the Second World War". He also stressed that "relations between our two continents cannot be built upon illegal or irregular migration, affirming his belief that a "two-way" solution must be found on migration. He concluded with an appeal to the African Heads of State and Government: "In view of the scale of the challenge that we are facing, humanitarian and development aid will, however, not be enough to meet the expectations of African youth who are full of hope and ambition. The response they are waiting for lies entirely in your hands, and we Europeans can only assist you in your efforts".

    • Other meeting · Press releases
    • Agriculture, pêche, Emploi, politique sociale, santé et consommateurs
    Milk, fruit and vegetables school schemes: negotiations between the Council and the Parliament

    The School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme and the School Milk Scheme are currently separate programmes under which EU aid is allocated to member states. In January 2014, the Commission presented two proposals merging the schemes and amending the new Single Common Market Organisation (single CMO) regulation under the reformed Common agricultural policy (CAP) (5958/14) and the regulation fixing certain aids and refunds (6054/14). Following the examination of the proposal in the Council, on 12 October 2015 the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) granted the Presidency a mandate to enter the first trilogue with the European Parliament on this proposal. The first trilogue took place on 20 October. The main issue at the time was the legal basis of the proposal, on which the mandate prepared for the 2nd trilogue shows some opening. At the end of the 2nd trilogue on 11 November, while recalling its attachment to reach a positive conclusion of this issue, the Presidency deems that it is appropriate to wait before setting the date of the next trilogue. It considers that further informal contacts in the meantime will allow to clarify some elements discussed and will facilitate those negotiations to resume efficiently as soon as possible.

    • Ministers in the European Parliament · News articles
    • Development, Foreign Affairs
    Before the European Parliament, Nicolas Schmit recognised that Member States' contributions to the Union's Trust Fund for Syria and Africa are still insufficient, before specifying that they may still be subject to variations

    On 11 November 2015, the Luxembourg Minister Nicolas Schmit, responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament held in Brussels, on behalf of the Council of the EU. The MEPs discussed the funding of the Union's two new trust funds for Syria and Africa, the "EU Regional Trust Fund" set up in response to the Syrian crisis ("Madad" Fund), and the "Emergency Trust Fund for stability and the fight against the deep-seated causes of illegal migration and the phenomenon of displaced persons in Africa". They invited the Member States to respect their commitments on this matter. Nicolas Schmit recognised that Member States' commitments to the trust funds were insufficient, however, he indicated that these are likely to increase, in particular through the Valletta Summit. He also called on MEPs to take account of the international nature of the crisis.

  • Updated 15-07-2015