Asia Europe Affairs

The past six weeks have seen comments/visits by EU Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner to the following:

  • Armenia – Upcoming visit in February 2008/implementation of Action Plan/Inclusion in Baku-Tbilisi-Kar railway
  • Georgia – Upcoming visit planned early February 2008/Free Trade Agreement negotiations (expected completion 2009)
  • Tajikistan/Afghanistan – Stronger border controls
  • Pakistan – +61 person observer mission for February 17th, 2008 election
  • India – Promotion of democracy in Sri Lanka/Pakistan/Burma as well as energy security and climate change
  • Lebanon – US$117 million grants and loans to reduce public debt
  • Palestinian Authority – US$650 million funds
  • Syria and Jordan – US$75 million funds toward Iraq refugees
  • Singapore (EU-Asean Summit) – Myanmar/Free Trade Agreement
  • China – Human rights

There has also been some discussion around implications of signing the Lisbon Treaty for the EU’s diplomatic presence around the world. And in particular the idea that all EU citizens can make use of any EU member state Embassy and Consulate facility should the need arise (loss of passport, arrest, death).

“…The European Commission unveiled plans yesterday for travellers to be able to use the consular services of any EU country and suggested members could merge their embassies….”

Mark Mardell’s blog also carried an interesting comment from former EU Commissioner of External Affairs Chris Patten around the likely role and challenges of the proposed High Representative for Foreign Affairs of Europe envisaged by the Lisbon Treaty. And that person’s ability to shape EU foreign policy.

“The Extremely High Rep, or whatever we are going to call him, has the ability to shape policy if he wants to do it because he chairs the Foreign Affairs Council…”

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