Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Brussels, 26 June 2023

Russian war of aggression against Ukraine

The Foreign Affairs Council exchanged views on the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

At the beginning of the Council discussion, EU ministers gave their assessment of the latest developments in Russia concerning the insurrection of the Wagner group.

The situation remains complex and unpredictable. We remain vigilant and committed to strong coordination with our partners, the 27 member states and the neighbour countries. These events have shown that the Russian State and Putin’s personal credibility are weakened. The political system is showing cracks. We were facing Russia as a danger because it was a threat, because it has the force and capacity of invading peaceful neighbours – as it did -. Now the risk comes from the internal political instability and fragilities of this major nuclear power. It is more important than ever to continue supporting Ukraine.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

The Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, then addressed EU ministers via video conference, and briefed them about the latest developments on the ground and Ukraine’s military priorities and needs, both on the short and long term.

EU ministers reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to supporting Ukraine during the counteroffensive as far as both equipment and training are concerned. Regarding the latter, the High Representative informed the Council that the EU Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine) had already trained 24 000 Ukrainian soldiers, allowing the EU to reach the 30 000 target well before the end of 2023.

The Council adopted a €3.5 billion top-up to the European Peace Facility, to ensure the EPF financial sustainability and predictability in the longer term, and keep supporting Ukraine while preserving the global geographical scope of the facility.

Lastly the Council discussed the global outreach efforts put in place by the EU to facilitate the plans for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for Ukraine, in line with the principles of the UN Charter.

EU-Latin America and the Caribbean relations

The Foreign Affairs Council held a discussion on reinforcing the EU’s partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean, ahead of the upcoming EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels on 17-18 July.

In particular ministers exchanged views on the “New agenda for relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean”, put forward by the Commission and the High Representative on 7 June 2023.

They also exchanged on the priorities for the EU-CELAC Summit, and how this could become a catalyst for the positive transformation of the overall EU-LAC agenda.

The EU will work to achieve regular and structured bi-regional dialogue to ensure the follow-up and implementation of actions in areas of common interest.

Digital diplomacy

The Council held its annual discussion on digital diplomacy and approved Council conclusions on the matter.

EU ministers agreed on the fact that the EU should play a central role as a shaper of the global digital rulebook in critical technologies – from GDPR to Artificial Intelligence – and as a leading technological power.

Furthermore, the EU should make use of its Team Europe approach to better defend its human centric digital model where the digital rules are being decided in multilateral bodies, such as the UN, ITU, UNESCO, and OECD.

The EU wants to work with trusted partners, and combine the promotion of the EU model through regulatory convergence and capacity building, with investments in digital infrastructures and the fight against digital inequalities. The Global Gateway will be a key instrument in this sense.

Current affairs

The Foreign Affairs Council had an exchange on the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. The High Representative debriefed EU ministers on the meetings he held with Serbian President Vučić and Kosovo* Prime Minister Kurti on 22 June in Brussels to find solutions to the ongoing crisis. Member states underlined their strong concern about the continuing tensions in the north of Kosovo and stressed the importance for the parties to immediately de-escalate, along the lines put forward in the EU statement from 3 June.

We welcomed the release of the three Kosovo policemen who had been held in Belgrade. Member states will take measures – if needed – in order to increase the leverage of the European Union and to support the dialogue for normalisation. Let me stress that elections have to be organised in all four municipalities of the north with unconditional participation of Kosovo Serbs in these elections, and both parties need to show readiness to implement their Dialogue obligations. Member states remain ready to take further measures if no progress is seen. And they rightly underlined that from future European Union members, we expect a European behaviour.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

The Council exchanged views on Tunisia against the background of the recent visit of the President of the European Commission and the Italian and Dutch Prime Ministers. Ministers were in agreement that the EU will continue to help address the difficult social and economic and situation that the country is facing. In order to ensure the stability of Tunisia, the EU offered a comprehensive package of cooperation that will now need to be approved by the Council.

Lastly, the High Representative referred to the ongoing work of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, towards the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Council conclusions and other decisions

The Council approved conclusions on Somalia, and the International Criminal Court on the 25th anniversary of the Rome Statute.

The Council also adopted a ninth package of restrictive measures on an additional 7 individuals responsible for serious human rights violations in Iran, and decisions extending the mandate of EUBAM Libya, EUBAM Rafah and EUPOL COPPS.

The Council also adopted without discussion the items on the list of non-legislative A items.

Preparatory documents
Press releases

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Source – EU Council

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