Foreign Affairs Council
Meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council
Meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council
Letter from the Director
Welcome to Yale Model Government Europe 2018! My name is Gregory and I am excited to be your Director for the Netherlands Cabinet. As Director, I look forward to making your experience at YMGE a fulfilling and enjoyable one through exciting debate and engaging discussion. Our topic on organized crime in the Netherlands is not only a pressing issue, but it also connects to major economic, social, and political changes occurring in Europe that are shaping major events today. We will touch upon immigration and transit, crime and policing, unemployment and parallel economies—all within the context of Dutch politics, including the rise of populism in recent years.
I am a sophomore at Jonathan Edwards College and also a prospective Economics and History double major. Hailing from tropical Indonesia, I now spend most of my time with the Yale International Relations Association, as USG of International Recruitment for YMGE, DG of Administration for YMUN Taiwan, and USG of Business and Conference for SCSY. Besides YIRA, you can also find me organizing events for the Indonesia Yale Association and drinking coffee at New Haven’s various cafes.
As your Director, I am happy to answer any questions and help you any way I can. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
See you on the banks of the Danube!
The EU Council of Ministers
The EU Council of Ministers
Council History and Background
The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is a configuration of the Council of the European Union composed of foreign ministers from all EU states, which is responsible for determining the European Union’s external policy in areas such as foreign policy, defense, and security, trade and development, as well as foreign aid. Specifically, the Foreign Affairs Council is responsible for ensuring that all member states implement a harmonized foreign and security policy. Hence, it has the jurisdiction to launch EU crisis management actions along with the European Commission, both through civil and military means, as well as economic sanctions. Together with the European Parliament, it is also responsible for negotiating and managing trade agreements.
The FAC was officially formed in 2009 with the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon, when it was split from the former General Affairs and External Relations Council. To this day, only the Foreign and General Affairs Councils are formally mentioned in the EU treaties, highlighting the FAC’s modern importance. Unlike other similar Councils, it is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP) instead of the European Council’s President. The current high representative, Federica Mogherini, aims to focus on establishing a European defense industrial development programme, supporting the progress of Western Balkans countries, facilitate partnership with African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries, as well as reinforce EU trade defense instruments. The role of HRVP as it exists today was also created by the Treaty of Lisbon, where it is specified that the HR is the EU’s primary diplomat above all else.
With this comes the FAC’s primary task of implementing the European Union’s new Global Strategy (EUGS). The EU portrays the EUGS as a combination of security, development, and diplomacy goals made to promote EU interests by fostering positive growth in other regions as well, with the three official directives of “Resilience of states and societies to our East and South,” “An Integrated Approach to Conflicts and Crises,” and “Security and Defense.”
The FAC has acted in a variety of different ways since its founding. In recent years, with the passage of the British referendum to exit the EU, the FAC has largely had to deal with the fallout, where the United Kingdom is being transitioned into the role of an external actor. Aside from this issue, the FAC has been partly or wholly responsible for the coordination and coherence of Europe’s foreign policy agreement regarding a variety of regions and conflict areas, including Russia, the Middle East, the United States, and Asia. Dealing with issues from trade and migration to terrorism and threats of war, the FAC has had its hands in nearly every area of foreign relations.
The Foreign Affairs Council has the directive to act in a vast variety of ways depending on the types of crises it is faced with. In the FAC, each Minister of Foreign Affairs has the primary obligation to serve the interests of their individual citizens. However, it is extremely important to remember that the entire objective of the FAC is to coordinate the EU’s foreign policy opinions into one united front that showcases strength and reason to the rest of the world. Though it serves to advise the European Commission and the European Parliament, it has direct jurisdiction over the legislation that the EU will adopt regarding outside affairs. For this reason, the FAC must be ready to act in the face of any crisis, as it will undoubtedly require the EU to determine a stance toward the rest of the world. This stance will sometimes require defense or military protection, and it will sometimes require diplomacy and the sharing of knowledge. Members of the FAC aim to work with outside diplomats to promote their own ideas or gain new ideas from others.
Of course, different crises in the FAC will require very different responses. Some general categories that the FAC is obligated to act on include:
Using diplomacy to minimize risk and impact of armed conflict.
Providing EU aid to outside nations in order to mitigate temporary situations or to promote long term development.
Sharing intelligence and information with allies.
Securing aid from outside nations in the cases of need in Europe.
Deciding on foreign economic policy, especially trade.
Declaring the EU’s official opinion on worldwide foreign affairs crises.
Overall, navigating rapidly changing foreign relations issues around the world, from the British departure to the brewing trade wars to the ongoing armed conflicts in the Middle East.
The FAC must also, of course, coordinate its efforts with the United Nations and its overall mission, with which it often has the same goals. Though interests do vary at times, the EU’s FAC has a history of working with the UN to represent European interests as a whole, providing a strong, united front in negotiations that would be far more difficult without the existence of such a body. Further, the FAC must expect to work closely with other configurations of the Council of Ministers, as internal policy ultimately determines the feasibility and effectiveness of external policy.
Questions to Consider
How will the FAC react to any of the possible crises and issue categories outlined above? Will the FAC take action actively or reactively, and why?
What should the FAC do, in order of importance, in response to a severe internal crisis, as opposed to an external or international crisis?
How will the FAC deal with internal disagreement, especially when the purpose of the council is to project a united front to the world? Should it prioritize consensus and compromise, or national sovereignty?
What is the role of the FAC in the emergence of the EU as a supranational superpower in its own right, and how should this affect the individual foreign policies of each member nation?
How does the FAC interact with other EU councils? Other EU governing bodies and officials?
How should the FAC change its goals for the future?
Suggestions for Further Research
To be best prepared for the Foreign Affairs Council, examine the past actions of the committee, the general structure of its monthly meetings and press releases, and of course, the possible ways it should act in a potential crisis. Being able to answer the questions posed above will be crucial in best responding to YMGE’s integrated crisis environment.