Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran – Foreign Minister Baerbock at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels

EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels - Photo from 2022

EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels - Photo from 2022, © Xander Heinl

20.02.2023 - Article

The EU Foreign Ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday (20 February). Further support for Ukraine as well as people in Iran and Afghanistan will be discussed. Read here which issues are on the agenda.

This week marks the first anniversary of the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Further support for Ukraine in its fight for freedom will therefore be one of the focuses of the discussion. At the same time, the EU is preparing the next – the tenth – package of sanctions against Russia, which is to be adopted in the near future. This will enable the EU to further increase the pressure on Russia and the Russian leadership to end the illegal attack against Ukraine.

Disastrous state of women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, the quality of life of women and girls in Afghanistan has steadily deteriorated. They have gradually been excluded from the public space, schools and universities as well as the workplace and increasingly confined to their homes. At Germany’s initiative, the Foreign Ministers will address the dire human rights situation in Afghanistan and consider what joint action can be taken. The question of further humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan will also feature in this.

Fifth package of sanctions against Iran

Despite its brutal attempts to intimidate the population, the Iranian regime has not succeeded in extinguishing its people’s dream of freedom and self‑determination. The 27 Foreign Ministers will therefore discuss once more the situation in Iran and adopt a fifth package of sanctions. The German Government has been driving forward the preparation of this package within the EU. The new listings within the framework of the existing EU sanctions regime to protect human rights are intended to target in particular those sections of the justice and security apparatus responsible for further human rights violations following the suppression of major street protests.

Other topics: Climate, the situation in the areas affected by the earthquake and Moldova

Despite all the crises facing the world, tackling the climate crisis remains the key task of the 21st century. Last autumn, Germany and Denmark founded a Group of Friends for an ambitious EU climate diplomacy among EU member states. At its initiative, the Foreign Ministers will talk about what efforts are needed and look ahead already to the 28th Climate Change Conference (COP), due to take place in the United Arab Emirates at the end of the year, at which the EU will negotiate on behalf of the member states.

The humanitarian situation in the parts of Turkey and Syria affected by the devastating earthquake is still difficult two weeks after it struck. The EU Foreign Ministers will discuss the state of the extensive relief measures coordinated by the EU.

At the invitation of Josep Borrell, Moldova’s Foreign Minister Popescu will be joining the Foreign Ministers for an informal working lunch. The discussion will focus in particular on further support for the Republic of Moldova’s EU accession process.


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