Foreign ministers to discuss “Everything but arms”

EU foreign ministers will be debating proposals to lift restrictions on imports from world’s poorest countries

EU foreign ministers will be debating Commission proposals to lift restrictions on imports from the world's poorest countries on Monday 26 February. They will also focus on the situation in the Balkans and the Middle East.

The "Everything but arms" initiative aims to give unrestricted duty-free access to the EU for all products, except those relating to the arms industry, from 48 of the world's least developed countries (LDCs). Commissioner Pascal Lamy has been under pressure from Europe's farming lobby and some Member States (France and Spain) to drastically amend his first proposals. As a result, some critics have been mocking the new amended proposals by calling it the "everything but farms" initiative.

In the afternoon, the foreign ministers will fly to Nice, to officially sign the Nice Treaty (see

EURACTIV 23 February).

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