The EU Foreign Ministers are meeting for the seventh time, on this occasion in Luxembourg, since the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine. In light of the ongoing Russian war crimes – the full brutality of which were evident in Bucha – the 27 member states already agreed on a fifth package of sanctions against Russia at the end of last week. Among other things, this includes an import ban on Russian coal. Foreign Minister Baerbock made the following comments on this on the margins of the Moldova Support Conference held in Berlin on 5 April:
... that the response to this inhumanity, which we have also witnessed on a large scale in other places, the response to these war crimes must be a European response. The fifth package of sanctions is our response. We as the European Union intend to end our fossil energy dependency on Russia, starting with coal, then oil and finally gas.
All in all, this new sanctions package is to result in a reduction in the volume of exports to Russia to the tune of around ten billion euro per year – including a reduction in high tech products which Russia needs to build its LNG liquefaction plants – as well as import bans amounting to approximately four billion euro per year, including on timber and cement. Furthermore, more than 200 individuals and 14 entities from Russia are being added to the sanctions list.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is having a massive global impact
With its attacks on grain silos, tractors and ports in Ukraine, Russia is jeopardising global food security and thus wilfully risking price increases in food. Ukraine – one of the world’s major grain exporters – fears that it has lost half of its agricultural land. What is more, Russia has halted the export of many types of grain. Both countries are the most important source of grain for many countries, also in Africa. The EU Foreign Ministers therefore want to discuss concrete measures aimed at protecting global food security.
Meeting with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
Before the session begins, the EU Foreign Ministers will meet Karim A.A. Khan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the request of more than 40 ICC contracting states, including Germany, he has announced the immediate commencement of an investigation into the terrible crimes committed in Ukraine and sent a team of investigators to that country. Germany is providing the ICC with an additional sum of one million euro to this end. On the margins of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting on 7 April, the Minister stressed:
We stand united in the face of the war crimes which the world has witnessed in the last few days: We will work together to prosecute these crimes, to bring the perpetrators before the court and to provide any support needed to investigate them
During the Foreign Affairs Council, EU High Representative Borrell will brief the Ministers on his trip to Ukraine with Commission President von der Leyen as well as on the EU’s support for Ukraine. A subsequent meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Iceland and Norway, Þórdis Kolbrún Gylfadóttir and Anniken Huitfeldt, will underscore the close cooperation with European countries which are not EU member states.
Also on the agenda: the EU infrastructure initiative Global Gateway
The Ministers will also discuss the EU initiative Global Gateway. Within the framework of this initiative, sustainable infrastructure investments of up to 300 billion euro are going to newly industrialising and developing countries between 2021 and 2027. In view of the changed security environment due to Russia’s war, the funding of key projects in Ukraine, the Western Balkans and Central Asia are now the focus of particular attention.