Ireland and EU Common Foreign and Security Policy in 2015
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan T.D. attended regular monthly meetings of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council with his EU counterparts throughout 2015, and represented Ireland’s position on important issues concerning international peace and security.
The agendas for these meetings were wide-ranging, covering issues such as the collective EU response to unfolding events in Ukraine, the Middle East Peace Process, developments in northern Iraq and Syria (including the emergence of ISIS) and instability in Libya.
Migration also featured strongly over the period, with the Foreign Affairs Council agreeing to launch an EU naval mission, EUNAVFOR MED, which seeks to disrupt the activities of people smugglers and traffickers who are exploiting vulnerable people for profit and putting lives at risk. Ireland deployed three Naval Service vessels - L.É. Eithne, L.É. Niamh and L.É. Samuel Beckett - on a separate Italian-led humanitarian search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea between May and November 2015.
The Foreign Affairs Council also adopted the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy in July 2015. The Plan aims to improve the effectiveness and consistency of the EU’s action on the promotion and protection of human rights in its external policy. During the negotiations of the Plan, Ireland successfully pressed for the inclusion of substantive provisions on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief, civil society space and human rights defenders.
In the context of the EU’s role as a provider of international security in support of the United Nations, EU-led civilian and military peace-keeping, peace support and conflict prevention missions across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East and development of EU capabilities in this area were also kept under ongoing review. In 2015, Ireland deployed 15 civilian experts to such EU-led missions.