The outlook for the crisis in Syria will be topping the agenda at the informal meeting of the 27 EU foreign ministers and High Representative Ashton taking place in Dublin this weekend. The informal, which Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi is attending, ends on Saturday 23 March 2013. The heads of Europe’s foreign ministries will be working to find agreement on possible changes to the arms embargo, which expires at the end of May.
A political solution for Syria
Minister Terzi will insist on the need to speed up the quest for a political solution to the crisis while supporting the Opposition Coalition and the process of creating the provisional government and safeguarding Al Khatib’s moderate leadership.
The Rome Meeting in late February highlighted the urgent need to take forward the commitment to provide greater support, including material support, for the opposition, which the European Union recognises as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people. On the question of the arms embargo, Minister Terzi will stress the need to identify a common position that will allow Brussels not to rule out, a priori, any option or means of exerting pressure on the regime in Damascus.
Review of the EEAS
Other topics on the agenda include an exchange of views on the review of the European External Action Service (EEAS), which will be implemented through a working document that Catherine Ashton will submit in coming months. Italy, along with another 14 member states, have already provided written input to the debate and Terzi will remind his colleagues that Italy will be working to strengthen the coherence and visibility of the Union’s external action.
Collaboration between the EU and regional organisations
EEAS President Catherine Ashton and the foreign ministers will discuss how to revitalise collaboration between the EU and regional organisations. The aim here is to address – in an effective and coordinated manner – situations of crisis and instability that have repercussions on the security of Europe and its members.
It is Italy’s firm conviction, and the point will be underscored by Minister Terzi in the Irish capital, that security is an indivisible good. So Europe must redouble its efforts to establish closer relations with NATO and with regional organisations in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Consolidating European defence is a vital priority. At the same time, the broader Middle East is a theatre that, for Italy and others, is of key strategic importance.