Migration and Syria discussed by a European Council devoted to foreign policy and migration: the EU leaders condemned the atrocities in Aleppo
High Representative Federica Mogherini updated leaders on the latest situation in Syria and the EU’s humanitarian initiative to help the population of eastern Aleppo and other cities affected by violence, and briefed them on contacts she has had with other important regional players on how to reconstruct Syria once the war is over.
The European Council strongly condemns the attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies, notably Russia, on civilians in Aleppo,” leaders said in their conclusions, and "calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for resumption of a credible political process under UN auspices. Those responsible for breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be held accountable. The EU is considering all available options, should the current atrocities continue. Everything should be done to extend the ceasefire, bring in humanitarian aid to the civilian population and create the conditions for opening negotiations on a political transition in Syria.
The European Council invites the High Representative to continue, together with the Commission, pursuing the EU humanitarian initiative and medical evacuations in cooperation with the UN; and to reach out to key actors in the region on a political transition and on preparations for post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction,” the leaders’ communiqué said.
Following a lengthy and detailed debate on the EU’s ongoing work on migration, introduced by Mogherini, the summit’s conclusions focused on protecting the EU’s external borders, preventing illegal migration along the Central Mediterranean route, tightening control of the Eastern Mediterranean route and on ways in which the EU’s member states could make further progress to strengthen further the EU’s migration and asylum strategy.
Leaders tasked the High Representative to report back at December’s summit on the progress made in the Partnership Framework which set up ‘Migration Compacts’ with five priority countries - Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal and Ethiopia, when they will set the way for further work and consider extending the approach to other countries.