The EU’s relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Colombia as well as additional support for Palestinian refugees all featured on the agenda of High Representative Federica Mogherini today.
This morning, Mogherini met Dragan Čović, Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They discussed the impressive progress BiH has made in the context of its Reform Agenda over the past year and further concrete steps that need to be taken for the positive momentum to continue, thus paving the way for the next phase on BiH's European path. This will be further discussed at the upcoming first EU-BiH Association Council in Brussels on 11 December.
She then held a very fruitful meeting with the Foreign Minister of Colombia, María Ángela Holguín. The two discussed EU-Colombia bilateral relations, including the EU support to the peace process, and were joined by Eamon Gilmore, the High Representative’s Special Envoy for the peace process in Colombia, following his recent visit there. Other issues related to post-conflict assistance, in particular the EU's Trust Fund currently discussed with a number of Member States, were also on the agenda.
Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, will be in Brussels on 2nd December, when the Visa Waiver Agreement between the EU and Colombia will be signed.
“The agreement will allow Colombia's citizens to travel more easily to the Schengen area, thus facilitating two important elements of our partnership - people to people contacts and business activities,” the High Representative said.
“We also reviewed the other dimensions of our partnership, which has been developing quickly over the past two years, in particular our cooperation on security and defence issues. Colombia's collaboration with our naval operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta off the Coast of Somalia has been highly valued and we are looking forward to effective Colombian participation in other EU-led crisis management operations once the Framework Participation Agreement is ratified by the Colombian Congress.”
Following a meeting with Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Mogherini announced that the EU will provide an additional 10 million euros to keep schools open and maintain core services for Palestinian refugees. This brings the EU’s support for UNRWA’s General Fund up to 102 million euros this year.
"UNRWA is doing invaluable work with the Palestinian children whose experience has been marked too often by war, violence, displacement and insecurity. Thanks to UNRWA, their right to go to school and build a better future for themselves and the region can be guaranteed. The EU will continue to stand by UNRWA as it provides Palestine refugees not only with critical quality services, but also with stability and hope for the future in very difficult circumstances".