Press Release 91/2017
19 May 2017
The EU Foreign Affairs Council will convene in Brussels under leadership of the European development ministers on 19 May. Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen.
The Council is expected to adopt a new European Consensus for Development, which will align EU development policy with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030. The new policy will provide guidance for the Union’s development cooperation and development policy for the coming 10–15 years.
In the Consensus negotiations, Finland laid special emphasis on sexual and reproductive health and related rights, pointing out that the EU should embrace them as important goals in order to guarantee that girls also have the right over their own bodies and the right to education and their own choices. At the express request of Finland and other like-minded countries, a reference to the Beijing Platform for Action and the Cairo Programme of Action, which are essential for the rights of women and girls and also reflect Finland’s goals, was included in the text of the Consensus. Finland has moreover underscored the importance of climate-resilient energy production by supporting, among other things, statements on the fossil fuel subsidies reform and the strengthening of partner countries’ taxation capacity.
The European development ministers will provide guidance to High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini for the preparations for negotiations on the future of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The current Agreement, which contains provisions on policy, trade and development, will expire in 2020.
Both in the Consensus talks and the discussions on EU-ACP relations, Finland has underlined that the EU should not have separate arrangements with the ACP countries but, instead, all developing countries should be treated as equal partners. ODA should primarily be directed at the least developed countries (LDCs) and fragile states. Future relations with developing countries should be based on a regional and tailored approach guided by the new European Consensus for Development.
The European development ministers will also address the acute humanitarian crises in Nigeria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Syria. Finland moreover wishes that a growing number of countries would grant humanitarian aid chiefly in the form of core funding that facilitates the action of aid organisations.
Over a joint dinner preceding the meeting of the General Affairs Council, interior and development ministers will discuss the external aspects of migration and the implementation of the Partnership Framework.
The ministerial lunch on May 19th will be attended by Amina Mohamed, UN Deputy Secretary General in charge of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. Together with the European ministers, she will take stock of the implementation of the SDGs in EU external relations.
Further information: Pasi Rajala, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel +358 400 464 393, and Sari Lehtiranta, Director, tel +358 295 352 139.
The Foreign Ministry's email addresses follow the format firstname.lastname@example.org.