14 and 15 April 2014 8763/14 (OR. en) Provisional Version - Presse 219 / PR CO 21
President Catherine Ashton High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Main results of the Council Meeting of Foreign Ministers
The Council condemned actions undertaken by armed individuals in cities of Eastern Ukraine. These attempts at destabilising Ukraine must come to an end. The Council also decided to expand the list of those subject to asset freeze and visa ban.
The Council reiterated its strong support for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and called upon Russia to do likewise. It demanded Russia to call back its troops from the Ukrainian border and immediately withdraw the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil.
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said:
"Any further action aimed at destabilising Ukraine must stop. It is crucial that Russia and Ukraine engage in a meaningful dialogue to find a political solution. I will meet the Foreign Ministers of the United States, Russia and Ukraine this Thursday in Geneva. The purpose of this meeting is to start a dialogue on how to deescalate the situation in Ukraine and to ensure that peace and stability returns to the whole of Ukraine."
The Council also signalled that the EU is ready to assist Ukraine in the field of civilian security sector reform. All options will be examined, including a possible mission under the Common Security and Defence Policy, and a decision will be taken at the next Foreign Affairs Council.
In addition, the Council approved macro-financial assistance to Ukraine to support the country's economic stabilisation and reforms. € 1 billion can be made available to contribute to covering Ukraine's urgent balance-of-payments needs as identified in the government's economic programme supported by the IMF. This brings the total amount to € 1.6 billion.
The Council also adopted temporary tariff cuts on Ukrainian goods, ahead of the application of the Association Agreement. The reduction of customs duties is expected to enter into force on 23 April.
The Council moreover strengthened EU sanctions against persons responsible for misappropriating Ukrainian state funds. It targeted four additional persons in Ukraine with an asset freeze.
Meeting of Defence Ministers
The Council established a civilian mission under the Common Security and Defence Policy to support the internal security forces in Mali. It will support the Malian state to ensure democratic order and the conditions for lasting peace through strategic advice and training for the three internal security forces in Mali, i.e. the police, Gendarmerie and Garde nationale.
The EU High Representative said:
"EUCAP Sahel Mali is a further demonstration of the EU's commitment to supporting reform in Mali. By assisting the Malian internal security forces with EU expertise, EUCAP will help build a lasting solution to Mali's security challenges."
The Council also extended the complementary EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) by two years, i.e. until 18 May 2016. The mission supports the training and reorganisation of the Malian Armed Forces so as to help improve the military capacity of the Malian Armed Forces. The extension of the mandate will allow military training of four additional battalions as well as the implementation of additional tasks.
Over lunch, EU defence ministers discussed the effects of the Ukrainian crisis on the common security and defence policy, in the presence of 8ATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.