The EU Foreign Affairs Council, led by member-state development ministers, will convene in Brussels on 22 May. Finland will be represented by Anne-Mari Virolainen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development.
At the Foreign Affairs Council, the ministers will be presented with the European Commission’s proposal for the EU’s future multiannual funding framework, i.e. the EU’s budget. At the meeting, the ministers will submit their preliminary feedback on the proposal presented on 2 May. The Commission will present its proposals concerning legislation related to development cooperation and migration separately in mid-June.
“Finland considers it important that the majority of development funding is directed to Africa,” says Anne-Mari Virolainen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development.
The development ministers will continue discussing the future of the Cotonou agreement between the EU and the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). The agreement will come to an end in 2020, and negotiations concerning its future will be commenced in early autumn 2018. The Cotonou agreement covers provisions concerning politics, trade and development.
In discussions concerning relations with the ACP countries, Finland has emphasised that the EU should not have any separate arrangements with ACP countries; instead, all developing countries should be treated as equal partners. Finland has also highlighted the importance of gender equality, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as human rights and democracy.
The ministers’ discussions in Brussels will also cover the implementation of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, targeted at the root causes and management of migration, as well as the fund’s completed projects and funding situation. Over lunch, the ministers will discuss gender equality and development. The discussions will focus on the implementation of the EU’s Gender Action Plan (GAP II) and Spotlight, a joint initiative between the EU and the UN aiming to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Additional information: Juha Kirstilä, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 040 552 8200 and Director General Sari Lehtiranta, tel. +358 (0)295 352 139.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ e-mail addresses are in the form firstname.lastname@example.org