Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Informal Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich) at Aphrodite Hills

On the 7th and 8th September 2012, Aphrodite Hills played host to the Informal Meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers. This high profile two-day meeting usually takes place once every six months in the Member State which holds the Presidency of the EU Council. It is also known as the ‘Gymnich’, named after the castle in Germany where the first meeting was held during the German Presidency of the EU Council in 1974.
The Gymnich Meeting, chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton, enables the EU Foreign Ministers to freely discuss current EU foreign policy issues. Other participants of the meeting include the European Correspondents from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of each of the 27 EU Member States, who accompany the Ministers and Representatives of the European Commission.
The Gymnich Meeting enabled the Ministers to work on the following issues:
  • The situation in Syria: the Ministers discussed the latest developments of the situation and explored options to allow the EU to play a more active role, both during the crisis and immediately following the crisis;
  • The situation in Iran: Ms. Ashton shared with the Ministers her analysis of the most recent meetings with the Iranians. The question of strengthening the sanctions was also raised;
  • Issues relating to access to water and the relationship between water and international security: the Ministers reflected on what measures the European Union could take in this area;
  • Education in post-crisis situations: the Ministers exchanged views on the priority of education in the countries undergoing transition and reconstruction. The discussions notably focused on the proposals that could be made by the EU, particularly within the framework of its crisis response policy.
(Picture caption)
Foreign Secretary, William Hague with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis and Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union (EU) at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Gymnich) at the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel.

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