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Statement by Elmar Brok, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee

Statement by Elmar Brok, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, on his meeting with Mr A. H. M. Ali, Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh
Elmar Brok, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, met on 2 April 2014 with Mr Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh, in the presence of Ms Jean Lambert, chair of the EP Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia.
Mr Brok highlighted the firm commitment of the EP to the EU's relations with Bangladesh and its support for the country's democratic future. Following the opposition's boycott of the parliamentary elections in January this year, Mr Brok stressed upon the government's responsibility to engage in a dialogue and find a way forward which would give the Bangladeshi people a chance to express their democratic choice in a fully representative way. A continuing deadlock would run the risk of fuelling extremism and violence.
Talking about labour safety in the context of the Rana Plaza catastrophe a year ago, they agreed on the need to build on progress made on increased safety inspections by the government, especially in the ready-made garments sector, as well as on the commitments by Bangladeshi manufacturers and European buyers. It is crucial that the victims are fully compensated and that effective progress is made before 24 April 2014, which will mark the first anniversary of the catastrophe. The review of the EU-Bangladesh Global Sustainability Pact scheduled later this year will also be an important milestone.
Speaking on regional relations, Mr Brok and Minister Ali discussed the dire conditions of the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh. Minister Ali underlined the responsibility of Myanmar and asked the EU for support in dealing with this humanitarian issue. Furthermore, Minister Ali stressed upon his country's good relations with India.
Lastly, Mr Brok expressed his concerns about the direct effects of climate change in Bangladesh, in particular the rising sea levels, and exchanged ideas with Minister Ali on innovative ways of dealing with the issue.
Minister Ali invited Mr Brok to visit Bangladesh in the future.

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Maritime security in the Eastern Mediterranean: committee debate

The Committee on Foreign Affairs will discuss issues of maritime security in the Eastern Mediterranean with the Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos. The meeting will take place on 14.04.14 in Strasbourg.

Further information
The ides of March in the Eastern neighbourhood: an overview

Scheduled at the end of November 2013, the Vilnius Summit was supposed to bring a new impetus into the overall the Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy. Even though the Summit may have brought about mixed results, it has nevertheless provided an opportunity to review the relations that the EU has developed with the six countries participating into the EaP initiative. This document gives an overview of the Eastern Partnership’s origin and principal features, analyses the current state of affairs in the EaP countries and takes a look at future challenges.

Sergei Magnitsky case: visa restrictions for Russian officials

The Committee on Foreign Affairs discussed and voted on two draft recommendations to the Council during its meetings of 17-18.03.14. One recommendation is connected to the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, whereas the other deals with the establishment of common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case.

Meeting of the AFET Chair with the Foreign Minister of Egypt on 2 April

The Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Elmar Brok, met on 2 April 2014 with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Ambassador Nabil Fahmy. Mr Brok expressed deep concerns at the mass trials of Muslim Brothers, stressing how the sentencing of several hundreds of people after an extremely short trial is incompatible with due process and fundamental rights. "This is a time for Egypt to promote national reconciliation and political pluralism and such trials hinder such path" said Mr Brok. Mr Fahmy appeared to share his concerns, but stressed the importance to respect the independence of the judiciary. Mr Fahmy said that Egypt requires more time to achieve its transition to democracy.

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AFET 31-03-2014 - 16:31  

The recent mass sentencing of 529 Muslim Brothers to death, the run-up to the 26-27 May presidential elections and continuing concerns over the democratic transition and the human rights situation in Egypt will be raised by the foreign affairs committee with the Egyptian foreign minister, Nabil Fahmi, on Tuesday in a debate starting at 10.30.

AFET 18-03-2014 - 10:55  

The EU should ban visas and freeze the EU assets of 32 Russian officials involved in the case of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, said the Foreign Affairs Committee in a resolution voted on Tuesday. Mr Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention in 2009, after allegedly having been tortured and deprived of medical care. The resolution names the officials.

Presentation and responsibilities
Committee responsible for:
1.    the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the European security and defence policy (ESDP). In this context the committee is assisted by a subcommittee on security and defence;
2.    relations with other EU institutions and bodies, the UNO and other international organisations and interparliamentary assemblies for matters falling under its responsibility;
3.    the strengthening of political relations with third countries, particularly those in the immediate vicinity of the Union, by means of major cooperation and assistance programmes or international agreements such as association and partnership agreements;
4.    the opening, monitoring and concluding of negotiations concerning the accession of European States to the Union;
5.    issues concerning human rights, the protection of minorities and the promotion of democratic values in third countries. In this context the committee is assisted by a subcommittee on human rights. Without prejudice to the relevant rules, members from other committees and bodies with responsibilities in this field shall be invited to attend the meetings of the subcommittee.

The committee coordinates the work of joint parliamentary committees and parliamentary cooperation committees as well as that of the interparliamentary delegations and ad hoc delegations and election observation missions falling within its remit.
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Welcome to the website of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The European Union, the world’s largest economy and biggest donor of development aid, has now, in the form of the Lisbon Treaty, the key powers and the means to conduct an ambitious and coherent foreign policy.
The European Parliament confers full democratic legitimacy on the European Union’s external action by ensuring it is based on the fundamental values of democracy and the rule of law which lie at the heart of European integration.
But the institutions are not the whole story: political will is needed to transcend internal divisions and overcome protectionist, even nationalist, reflexes.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs helps to formulate and monitor a foreign policy that addresses the interests of the Union, the security expectations of its citizens and the stability of its neighbours, and ensures that it is coherent and effective. We are, more specifically, aware that the views of European nations and their peoples will only be heard on the international stage if Europe speaks with one voice.