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The Foreign Affairs Council is a configuration of the Council of the European Union and meets once a month. Meetings bring together the Foreign Ministers of the Member States. Ministers responsible for European Affairs, Defence, Development or Trade also participate depending on the items on agenda. The configuration is unique in that chaired by the High Representative rather than the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

It was created in 2009 by the Treaty of Lisbon by splitting it from the "General Affairs and External Relations Council" with the other part became the General Affairs Council. The General and Foreign Council's are the only two Council's mentioned in the EU treaties.

At its sessions, the Council deals with the whole of the EU's external action, including Common Foreign and Security Policy, Common Security and Defence Policy, foreign trade and development cooperation. A priority in recent years for the Council, in cooperation with the European Commission, has been to ensure coherence in the EU's external action across the range of instruments at the EU's disposal.

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European Union

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the European Union



Other countriesTemplate:· Atlas
 Politics portal
European Union

This article is part of the series:
Foreign relations of the European Union

Policy

CFSP High Representative
     Javier Solana
ER Commissioner
     Benita Ferrero-Waldner

See also

Neighbourhood PolicyTemplate:· ACPTemplate:· Economic RelationsTemplate:· Diplomatic MissionsTemplate:· SecurityTemplate:· MilitaryTemplate:· EurosphereTemplate:· ESDP missions


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The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) is one of the oldest configurations of the Council of the European Union. It holds separate meetings on General Affairs and on External Relations respectively. It meets once a month, more frequent that most other configurations.

Meetings bring together the Foreign Ministers of the Member States. Ministers responsible for European Affairs, Defence, Development or Trade also participate depending on the items on agenda.

Contents

General Affairs

At its sessions on General Affairs, the Council deals with dossiers that affect more than one of the Union's policies, such as negotiations on EU enlargement, preparation of the Union's multi–annual budgetary perspective or institutional and administrative issues. It co–ordinates preparation for and follow-up to meetings of the European Council. It also exercises a role in co–ordinating work on different policy areas carried out by the Council's other configurations, and handles any dossier entrusted to it by the European Council.

External Relations

At its sessions on External Relations, the Council deals with the whole of the Union's external action, including Common Foreign and Security Policy, European Security and Defence Policy, foreign trade and development cooperation. A priority in recent years for the Council, in cooperation with the European Commission, has been to ensure coherence in the EU's external action across the range of instruments at the Union's disposal.

Changes

Under the proposed Treaty of Lisbon, the external relations configuration would be separated from general affairs and be headed by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy rather than operate under the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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