The foreign ministers of the 27 European Union Member States gathered in Luxembourg in the evening of 17 June for their monthly General Affairs and External Relations Council.
The European reform process
The proceedings commenced in the evening with preparations for the meeting of the Heads of State and Government, the European Council, which begins on Thursday (21 June) in Brussels. After focusing on the European reform process, the foreign ministers will discuss the remaining issues on the European Council agenda on Monday morning. Referring to the European reform process, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday that there was "a new desire, a new ambition ... to reach new shores". Looking back on the past months of the German EU Presidency, his assessment was that the European Union had freed itself from the "crisis and stagnation" in which it had often been said to find itself. He stated that the goal was now "to continue to reduce the number of unresolved issues as far as possible" to make it easier to reach a compromise during the European Council.
The Middle East, the strategy for Central Asia and other issues
On Monday (18 June) the EU foreign ministers will meet Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for talks on the current situation in the Middle East. In addition, the ministers will focus on topics such as the EU strategy for Central Asia and the European Neighbourhood Policy, topics which will also be included in the European Council conclusions. During their meeting in Luxembourg the ministers also intend to raise the issue of Kosovo's future status and the situation in the Western Sudanese region of Darfur.
Other meetings on the margins of the Council
EU Cooperation Councils with Ukraine and Moldova are due to take place on the margins of the Council. The EU Troika and Albania will meet on Tuesday (19 June).
For further information on the General Affairs and External Relations Council, including audio recordings, visit www.eu2007.de.