Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met his European counterparts at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday (6 February). The focus of the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting was on the situation in Ukraine. Further items on the agenda included the situation in Libya and recent developments in the Middle East.
Focus on the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine
In Brussels on Monday morning, Foreign Minister Gabriel had the following to say with regard to recent developments in eastern Ukraine prior to the EU Foreign Affairs Council: “We are very concerned that the ceasefire is being broken in the region to an increasing degree.” The situation had continued to deteriorate last week with hostilities in eastern Ukraine more intense than they had been for a long time.
The German Foreign Minister also touched on the situation in eastern Ukraine in talks with his American dialogue partners during his trip to the US last week. In addition, Gabriel met the Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Berlin.
The EU has an important role to play in Ukraine
The EU is playing an important role both with regard to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and as far as the country’s domestic development is concerned. The European Union is Ukraine’s most important partner in its efforts to implement reforms and modernise administration. The implementation of the reform agenda was also a topic of discussion at today’s Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
Further topics: Libya and the Middle East
Ukraine was by far not the only topic to be addressed by the EU Foreign Ministers today, however. Gabriel and his counterparts also discussed relations between the EU and Egypt, as well as the status quo of the Middle East Peace Process – both of which are important policy areas for Europe in which the EU is assuming a central role.
Meeting with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice-President of the European Commission.
Prior to the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Foreign Minister Gabriel met Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans for talks focusing on the future of Europe. Furthermore, the German Foreign Minister met the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. The primary focus of this meeting was on developments in Ukraine and Libya.