Focus on external affairs
© European Union 2012
On the second day of the European Council meeting, heads of state or government also discussed the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and other topics in the area of external affairs.
Leaders noted that in today's changing world the EU is called upon to assume greater responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security. CSDP missions and operations are a tangible EU contribution to international crisis management and are essential elements of the EU's comprehensive approach in crisis regions..
Heads of state or government underlined that
- the effectiveness, visibility and impact of the CSDP have to be increased
- defence capabilities need to be enhanced
- Europe's defence industry ought to be strengthened.
Both the High Representative and the Commission were invited to develop proposals and actions to strengthen CSDP and improve the availability of the required capabilities - both civilian and military - and to report in September 2013 at the latest. The European Council meeting in December 2013 will review progress and provide guidance on the basis of recommendations by its President.
On Syria, leaders reiterated that they were appalled by the increasingly deteriorating situation and endorsed conclusions adopted by the Council on 10 December. The European Council underlined the gravity of the situation, and the need to support the coalition of Syrian opposition forces in the most effective way. The European Council stressed the need for Assad to leave office, and for a real political process to take place.
The European Council decided to remain actively engaged and tasked the Foreign Affairs Council to look at all options to support and help the opposition and to enable greater support for the protection of civilians. It underlined its support to a future that is democratic and inclusive with full support for human rights and the rights of minorities.
Subject to an evaluation of the concept of macro regional strategies, the European Council looks forward to the Commission presenting a new strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region before the end of 2014 and calls for a prompt implementation of the revised EU strategy for the Baltic Sea.
On enlargement and the Stabilisation and Association Process, leaders welcomed and endorsed the conclusions the Council adopted on 11 December.
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