On Monday (13 April), Foreign Minister Steinmeier attended at meeting in Barcelona with his counterparts from the European Union and the southern ENP partners. The meeting within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy took place at the initiative of Spain, which hosted the meeting, and of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
After arriving in Barcelona Airport, Foreign Minister Steinmeier laid a wreath for the victims of flight 4U9525, which crashed in the French Alps on 24 March after taking off from Barcelona, with Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
The foreign ministers meeting was then officially opened in Palacio Real de Pedralbes in Barcelona in the presence of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The consultations were chaired by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. Most of the EU member states were represented at the foreign minister level.
Close and coordinated cooperation needed
Before leaving for Barcelona, Steinmeier issued the following statement on the agenda of the informal foreign ministers meeting: “In view of the many crises and conflicts around us, we now need close and coordinated cooperation with our neighbouring countries more urgently than ever.”
After the meeting, the German Foreign Minister said:
We all have an interest in ensuring that crises in this region do not spill over to Europe to an even greater extent. For their part, our southern neighbours have an interest in our help, for example with professional training for young people and overall economic development.
Steinmeier added that the EU wanted to tailor the instruments of the European Neighbourhood Policy more closely and clearly to individual countries’ needs because of the diversity of the southern Mediterranean states.