The Middle East, Georgia and the situation in Ukraine are the focus of the May session of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the EU Foreign Affairs Council

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the EU Foreign Affairs Council, © Photothek Media Lab

27.05.2024 - Article

The agenda for today’s monthly meeting of Foreign Minister Baerbock and her EU colleagues in Brussels is long. Read on to find out more about the topics being discussed.

How can we improve humanitarian access to Gaza? How can the pressure on Hamas be stepped up – in cooperation with Arab partners – so that the Israeli hostages, who have been in the clutches of Hamas for more than six months now, are released? These are only two of the questions regarding the situation in the Middle East which the Foreign Ministers will be discussing again today. The fact that these questions have been almost the same for months now shows how difficult the situation on the ground is, as well as how urgently needed progress is. One major problem is the ever-deteriorating healthcare situation in Gaza. Among other things, there is a risk of cholera and hepatitis spreading.

Durable peace in the region only has a chance if there is a two-state solution, which must have support in the region. The EU27 will therefore have talks today with their counterparts from five Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar), as well as the Arab League.

Standing by the people of Georgia

People in Georgia want to join the EU. Time and again they have expressed this desire in an impressive fashion. In the last few days and weeks, for instance, they have protested against the Government’s plans to take measures against civil society with the so-called Transparency Law based on the Russian model. Back in 2023, the pressure from the street forced the Georgian Government to abandon its plans – but only temporarily as it has now transpired.

If the law were to be enacted, it would have a considerable negative impact on freedom of opinion as well as the inviolability of privacy and would sweep aside prohibitions on discrimination. According to the Venice Commission, the law violates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Foreign Ministers will therefore discuss what this means for Georgia’s prospect of EU accession and how support can be given to people on the ground.

Georgia’s Government is at a crossroads following the President’s veto.

The situation in Ukraine and Russian provocations in the Baltic Sea region

Ukraine urgently needs better air defence. This was again evident during Foreign Minister Baerbock’s visit to Kyiv last week. For Putin is relentlessly bombing the electricity, water and heating systems. By doing so, he is directly targeting the lifelines of Ukrainian society. Germany is pushing ahead with a new procurement initiative. The EU27 will discuss further steps today, and an exchange with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba is also planned.

The security situation in the Baltic Sea region will be on the Foreign Ministers’ agenda, too. With the removal of buoys in the River Narva, which forms the border between Russia and Estonia, Russia has yet again taken provocative action at the borders of the European Union. These provocations are unacceptable. Foreign Minister Baerbock already made it clear last week that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Baltic and Finnish partners.


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