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Press Release – Dr. Marcoullis discussed issues of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the EP Plenary
21.11.2012, 21:11 (CET)
Cyprus’ Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis discussed issues of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, during her appearance at the European Parliament (EP) Plenary today, Wednesday, November 21 in Strasbourg. She also discussed the Council’s Annual Report to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSDP) with the Members of the EP (MEPs). Dr. Marcoullis attended the EP Plenary on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton.

More particularly, on the situation in Gaza, Dr. Marcoullis informed the EP Plenary of the Conclusions of the November 19 Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), which called for an urgent de-escalation and cessation of hostilities. The Council expressed the support of the EU to the efforts of Egypt and other actors to mediate for a rapid ceasefire and welcomed the mission of the United Nations Secretary General to the region.

“We remain gravely concerned about the situation in Gaza and Israel and we deeply regret the loss of civilian life on both sides,” said Dr. Marcoullis, adding that the Council called for all attacks to “end immediately as they cause unjustifiable suffering of innocent civilians”.

The Cypriot Minister stressed that the current situation “underlines once more the urgent need to move towards a two-state solution allowing both sides to live side-by-side in peace and security”.

Reports reflecting today’s world

On the issue of the CSDP, Dr. Marcoullis discussed four reports prepared by MEPs:

1) The report by MEP Arnaud Danjean entitled “Implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy”,

2) The report by MEP Ioan Mircea Paşcu entitled “EU mutual defence and solidarity clauses: political and operational dimensions”,

3) the report by MEP Tunne Kelam entitled “Cyber Security and Defence”, and

4) the report by  MEP Indrek Tarand, entitled “Role of the Common Security and Defence Policy in cases of climate-driven crises and natural disasters enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement”.

The Cypriot Minister stressed that all four reports related to CSDP issues are timely and relevant, because they demonstrate the way in which different elements of security are interconnected in various ways, while at the same time “reflect the world we live in”.  

Pointing out that the suggestions of these reports are instrumental to the debate on improving EU’s approach and action within the context of the foreign affairs and security policy, the Cypriot Minister highlighted the importance of collaboration with the EP in joint efforts to protect the security of EU citizens and “make the EU an increasingly effective contributor to global peace and security”.

Consistency in EU external relations

Referring to the three new missions on the ground, in Sahel, South Sudan and Horn of Africa, the additional two that are under preparation –for Mali and Libya- as well as the positive results of the mission in Somalia, Dr. Marcoullis underlined the efficiency of the CSDP missions, and highlighted the sustainability of their results, as part of coordinated actions.

“It‘s about consistency in our external relations, about bringing security to conflict-affected populations and alleviating poverty,” she emphasised.

Dr. Marcoullis acknowledged that the financial crisis is putting a heavy burden on national budgets and therefore defence capabilities are particularly affected. “This is why our work on pooling and sharing is so important,” she added.

Referring to cybersecurity, the Cypriot Minister said that the European External Action Service and the European Commission are preparing a Joint Communication on EU Cybersecurity Strategy, with a view of developing a coherent international cyber policy for the EU.

She also mentioned that the EU and Member States are leading international efforts to enhance climate security by initiating policy dialogue, including at the UN Security Council level and in its bilateral relations, and by supporting concrete initiatives in the field of climate risk management and adaptation.

Concluding, the Cypriot Minister reiterated that there is a need for better use of resources and efficiency of EU’s efforts.

“Your suggestions and recommendations are important to us, and we are happy to have the EP on our side as our partner, but also as a fair critic,” she emphasised.

EU enhanced partnership and cooperation with Kazakhstan

Dr. Marcoullis also represented the High Representative during the EP Plenary discussion on the “Negotiations for an EU-Kazakhstan enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement”, based on the report by MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari. Dr. Marcoullis pointed out that Kazakhstan has been an important partner for the EU in Central Asia, not only on trade and economic exchanges, but also as a stable country which has a proven track-record of inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony and tolerance.

She added that the EU, in return, is a very important trade and investment partner for Kazakhstan as more than half of the total foreign direct investment in the country comes from EU investors. The Cypriot Minister also stressed that the respect for democracy, principles of international law, fundamental freedoms and human rights is an essential component of the new EU-Kazakhstan agreement.

“This means that, once the new agreement shall enter into force, the violation of this essential element could lead to the suspension of parts or all of the agreement,” Dr. Marcoullis underlined.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Nikos Christodoulides

Coreper II

Email: nchristodoulides@mfa.gov.cy
Telephone: +32 27395152
Mobile: +32 473400441
Communications Officer
Charis Christodoulidou

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Email: cchristodoulidou@mfa.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22401165

MORE INFORMATION

European Parliament's press release on Gaza

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