EU FMs meet to prepare for EU summit, discuss North Africa, Mideast; arrivals

(21 Feb 2011)
1. European President Herman van Rompuy arriving
2. Cutaway of media
3. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn arriving
4. Cutaway of media
5. SOUNDBITE (French) Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg Foreign Minister :
“We have to give a signal here that we understand them (the people in Libya). This is not that we tell them what to do but that we understand them, and that really, with all the leverage that we have; the development bank, the investment bank, but also the policy of the Mediterranean Union and our neighbouring policy, we have to put all our instruments together to show them that we are here and that we understand them.”
6. Cutaway of media
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister :
“Clearly we are actually extremely concerned with the events and condemn very clearly the oppression that is ongoing. But then we are looking beyond what is happening today. It is a long-term challenge of development, of reform, of economic growth in that entire part of North Africa and the Middle East, which will be very high up on the agenda for quite some time to come.”
8. Cutaway of media
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Alexander Stubb, Finnish Foreign Minister :
“I think we are in a situation, for instance, in Libya where we can only condemn the violence. At the same time, it is not our job to change the leader of Libya, it is the job of the leadership of Libya to listen to its people. And, to be quite honest, listening to people doesn’t mean you should be using a machine gun.”
10. Cutaway of media
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister :
“We need a European comprehensive action plan. I would call it a Marshall Plan for Mediterranean and Middle East because we should support all the peaceful transitional process that are going on in the Middle East, in some countries, while avoiding a patronising position from the European Union.”
12. Journalist taking notes
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister :
“I’m extremely concerned about the self proclamation of these so-called Islamic Emirate of Benghazi. Would you imagine to have an Islamic Arab Emirate at the borders of Europe? This would be a very serious threat and that’s why we consider Libya one of the areas to be taken into full consideration, wishing for peaceful reconciliation and I think, hopefully, a Libyan constitution as soon as possible.”
14. Cutaway of cameraman
15. SOUNDBITE (German) Werner Hoyer, Minister of State at the German Foreign Office:
“Where we are asked for we must help, help for democratic development and for economic assistance. People called for freedom and participation, but also for bread and for an economic perspective. That’s why the EU has to take a new approach to its neighbourhood policy. We also must have stronger conditionality. The help has to be oriented towards rule of law and democracy.”
16. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso arriving
EU nations sharply condemned Libya’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and said on Monday the bloc will prepare for the possible evacuation of European citizens.
The EU does not have the power to order its member states to evacuate their citizens from a foreign country, but ministers can agree on coordinated action in such cases.
Late on Sunday, the EU denounced the repression against peaceful demonstrators and urged authorities in Tripoli to exercise restraint faced with peaceful demonstrators.
Several ministers attending the regular monthly meeting in Brussels also expressed concern about a possible massive increase in the flow of illegal migrants from North Africa in the wake of the popular unrest in the region.

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