EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels: Close European coordination following the G7 and NATO ministerial meetings
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Brussels, © Xander Heinl / Photothek
In addition to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the Western Balkans are also on the agenda.
Russia’s brutal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine has been going on for almost three months now. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will brief her EU counterparts in Brussels on the latest discussions and outcomes of the G7 Foreign Ministers meetings in Weissenhaus, Land Schleswig-Holstein, from 12 to 14 May and the informal NATO meeting in Berlin from 14 to 15 May. Foreign Minister Baerbock emphasised the following in Weissenhaus on 14 May with a view to the close and coordinated approach being taken in the EU, the G7 and NATO:
We won’t content ourselves with mere declarations, because empty words don’t help us at a time when this terrible and illegal war of aggression is being waged. With incredible courage and determination, Ukrainian men and women have halted Russia’s attack in large parts of the country. We will continue to provide our support so that they can stand a chance in this unequal fight. And we will do so with weapons that we can supply, with aid for the people, and with financial assistance to ensure the continued functioning of the Ukrainian state.
Her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba is also attending the EU Foreign Affairs Council once again. His personal attendance underscores Europe’s unwavering solidarity with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression.
The EU Foreign Ministers will also reach a decision in principle on a renewed increase in EU funding for arms deliveries to Ukraine by a further 500 million euro to two billion euro, subject to national approval requirements. However, the fight for security and freedom in Europe is not only waged with weapons. Dealing with hybrid threats as well as with Russian disinformation is also on the agenda of the talks in Brussels. Last but not least, Sweden and Finland will brief their EU partners on their security policy reorientation with a view to joining NATO.
The war in Ukraine is also having an impact on the Western Balkans
In Brussels, the 27 EU Foreign Ministers will also meet their counterparts from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia). Doing their utmost to support the six countries of the Western Balkans as they proceed towards the EU is an important priority for Germany and the EU. This point was emphasised once again by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock last week at their meetings with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti within the framework of the Berlin Process.
In view of the Russian war, it is now all the more important for all six countries of the Western Balkans to commit to the European order of values and law as well as to the most recent decisions also in the EU’s common foreign and security policy. At the same time, the EU27 itself must not block urgent enlargement issues with domestic or bilateral matters. The commencement of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in particular is long overdue.