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Foreign Minister Søvndal after Gymnich in Copenhagen: "Human rights should be at forefront of EU foreign policy"

10-03-2012 12:50:00

Family photo of the EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen 9-10 March 2012

Photo: Bjarke Ørsted
family photo from gymnich

EU foreign ministers agreed this weekend to sharpen the focus on human rights in EU foreign policy. The agreement was obtained at the informal ministerial meeting, which took place at Bella Centre in Copenhagen Friday and Saturday where ministers discussed how to strengthen EU foreign policy in times of economic crisis. The foreign ministers also discussed current crises situations, including Syria. There was broad agreement to continue the gradual sharpening of sanctions against the Assad regime.

Ministers agreed that human rights should be the silver thread in EU foreign policy. Broad political support was obtained for a Danish proposal to sharpen EU’s profile by appointing an EU Special Representative on Human Rights and establish an action plan with concrete measures by the end of the Danish presidency.

In this regard Foreign Minister Søvndal comments:

“Human rights should be at the forefront of EU foreign policy. I am very pleased that we as EU Presidency have contributed to a number of concrete initiatives to strengthen EU’s foreign policy and particularly to enhance our profile on human rights. It is extremely important that we – even in challenging times – remain focused on our core values. In this regard the respect for democracy and the universal human rights are essential. The appointment of a Special Representative will be a positive and visible step, which can contribute to new alliances and create dialogue on human rights with other countries."

Ministers also agreed to increase the focus on the central priorities for EU Foreign policy, including targeted support for the political developments in EU’s neighbourhood and expansion of the relationship with emerging powers.

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