Support for Ukraine and future strategy
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine continues to dominate the discussions of the Foreign Ministers. In view of the approaching winter, Russia is continuing to deliberately destroy waterworks, the electricity grid and the heat supply in Ukraine. In addition to a discussion on the current situation, the EU Foreign Affairs Council will therefore focus on implementing, at the EU level, assistance for the reconstruction of the critical water and energy infrastructure agreed upon at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Münster ten days ago. Additional sanctions and further military support are also set to be discussed.
At the informal Gymnich meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Prague on 31 August, Germany and France initiated a debate on the EU’s further strategic approach to Russia. For the foreseeable future, there will be no security in Eastern Europe with Russia but against it. Building on the consultations held in August, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has scheduled an orientation debate on this issue.
New EU strategy for the Great Lakes region
In the second item on the agenda, the EU Foreign Ministers will discuss the fragile situation in eastern Congo. Violence between government troops and various rebel groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has escalated further in recent weeks. At the Foreign Affairs Council, the attendees will discuss the current situation on the ground as well as the European Union’s commitment to bringing peace to the region. They will also address the fundamental EU strategy for the Great Lakes region, which, in addition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also includes Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.
Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo
At Germany’s request, the Foreign Affairs Council will also focus on the current tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. Federal Government Special Representative Manuel Sarrazin last travelled to the region on 6 November for mediation talks. The discussions will focus on the findings of his trip as well as on the talks held by EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajčák. Recent progress in the region will also be discussed. At a meeting held at the Federal Foreign Office on 21 October 2022, the Foreign Ministers of the six Western Balkan countries reached agreement on the signing of three key mobility agreements to create a Common Regional Market. These agreements had been blocked for a long period of time due to differences between Serbia and Kosovo and were resolved thanks to intensive negotiations in Berlin. The agreements were signed at the Western Balkans Summit at the Federal Chancellery on 3 November 2022. The discussions have also laid the groundwork for the annual EU-Western Balkans Summit, which will take place in Tirana on 6 December.
Iran, Lebanon, EU-CELAC relations, current developments at COP27 ...
The Foreign Ministers will also engage with other current issues. At Germany’s proposal, these will include the EU’s further response to the situation in Iran. A further package of sanctions in connection with serious human rights violations is being prepared. Consultations on the situation in Lebanon and the state of EU relations with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will likewise be held. This regional association brings together 33 Central and South American countries. The current status of the climate negotiations at the COP27 climate conference, which has been taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, since 6 November 2022, will also be on the agenda.
Informal breakfast with Belarussian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
Before the start of the Foreign Affairs Council, the High Representative will host an informal breakfast with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Topics of discussion will include the current situation in Belarus and the European Union’s solidarity with the democracy movement in the country.