Foreign Secretary attends EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

November 14
11:35 2016

On 14 November 2016 the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, attended the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

Speaking to the media outside, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Weve got a very full agenda today. Well be focusing here today on Yemen, Lebanon and on Turkey.

Turkey remains a matter of some concern, and its very, very important that we should not push Turkey into a corner. We should not overreact in a way that is against our collective interest to whats going on in Turkey. Remember theyve had a very difficult situation there, a very serious attempted coup.

Well talk about the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) thats been developed and measures to take forward European defence cooperation, where I think weve made some very good progress. The UK is supportive, and I look forward to the conversations.

On Defence:

I think the crucial thing about the European efforts on defence is that its a good thing if everyone steps up to the plate and spends a bit more on defence themselves. One of the great things about our government is that we do spend 2% of GDP on defence. Were heavily committed, were out there in all the key EU operations, OP Sophia, OP Atalanta. The UK is a major, major player. I personally think its a good thing if other European countries do shoulder more of their responsibilities and spend a bit more on defence. I wouldnt be against that. Its important when youre setting up these EU structures that they should be complementary with NATO. You shouldnt undermine the fundamental security architecture thats looked after us for the last 70 years.

On the US Election:

I think theres a lot to be positive about. Its very important not to prejudge the President-elect or his administration. Its only a few days since the election has taken place. I think we all need to wait and see what they come up with. But I think we should regard it as a moment of opportunity. This is a time when, as the Prime Minister is saying today, when theres a big change going on in the world. People who feel they havent been properly listened to, properly represented, are starting to make their voices heard. It is up to us, up to everybody, to listen to them and to take things forward in a positive way. Donald Trump, as Ive said before, is a deal maker and I think that could be a good thing for Britain, but it can also a good thing for Europe. I think thats what we need to focus on today.

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