The Foreign Affairs Council meets once a month and deals with all aspects of the European Union’s external policy. The main dossiers of the council are Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), Foreign Trade Policy and Development Cooperation. The FAC is permanently chaired by the EU High Representative, Baroness Catherine Ashton. Member States are normally represented by their foreign Ministers, with Development, Defence and/or Trade Ministers participating depending on the agenda.
Work is now beginning to shape the framework for international development after 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. The EU contribution to discussions on the development of the "post-2015 agenda" will be a key aspect of the Council’s development policy focus during the Irish Presidency in advance of the 2013 UN Special Event on the MDGs.
International trade and giving impetus to trade agreements with partners around the globe, including the United States, will also be a key priority for the Irish Presidency.
The key priorities of the Irish Presidency include:
Supporting the work of the High Representative and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to deal with foreign policy challenges of the day, and to support peace, democracy and human rights.
Working with the High Representative to make progress on development and humanitarian issues, and in particular ensuring that the EU actively engages in the process for agreeing the framework for international development after 2015.
Giving new impetus to promoting trade agreements with key partners to underpin the Presidency’s main focus on jobs and growth.