Foreign Minister Baerbock attends the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Prague (Gymnich meeting)
Foreign Minister Baerbock attends the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Prague (Gymnich meeting), © Janine Schmitz/photothek.de
At the next twice-yearly informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers, known as the Gymnich meeting, discussions will focus on EU‑Africa relations as well as the EU’s further response to Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is travelling to Prague after the first day of the cabinet meeting in Meseberg in order to participate in the talks of the EU Foreign Ministers, including with their Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba.
The goal of the consultations on EU‑Africa relations on the first day will be to take stock of how relations have developed and how well the Summit decisions have been implemented six months on from the EU‑AU Summit on 17 and 18 February (for more information on the Summit, click here). One key aspect is the implementation of the European Union’s Global Gateway initiative. Within the framework of this initiative, sustainable infrastructure investments of up to 300 billion euro are to be channelled into newly industrialising and developing countries between 2021 and 2027. The Foreign Ministers also plan to intensify political outreach strategies towards the African countries, coordinated within the EU.
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine
The dominant theme of the second day of the meeting in Prague will be Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The consultations of the Member States will focus on the development of a comprehensive response from the EU in its dealings with its strategic rival Russia, as well as the continuation of direct support for Ukraine. Issues that the EU27 plan to discuss include a common response to potential referendums that Russia plans to implement in the occupied territories and the search for ways to continue despite the war to support and strengthen civil society and opposition groups in Russia that speak out against the Kremlin. The Foreign Ministers will also consider the question of whether to continue issuing Schengen visas to Russian citizens.
For me it is important […] that we do not view the issue of Russia’s war of aggression and its consequences only from our own national perspective but always also through the eyes of others. It is a completely different situation for Baltic states when they have relatively large Russian minorities in their countries and a direct border with Russia. […]“
The aim must be ”to enable people who are being persecuted in Russia to leave the country very quickly, that we leave this option open.
Foreign Minister Baerbock on the fringes of the cabinet meeting in Meseberg on 30 August 2022
Foreign Minister Baerbock and the EU partners will also discuss how to make the EU itself more resilient and capable of action in light of the challenges ahead.
On the margins of the Gymnich meeting, the EU Foreign Ministers will meet their counterparts from Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova for a joint luncheon. The main objective here will be to engage in discussions on their European prospects and the next stages along their journey towards the European Union. In a historic decision, the European Council of 23 and 24 June granted Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova EU accession candidate status and Georgia potential candidate status. The next steps now depend on fulfilment of the reform conditions stipulated by the EU Commission and the Heads of State and Government.
Following the meeting, Foreign Minister Baerbock will join the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Poland and Italy and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for a panel discussion on Ukraine, at the invitation of Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský. The discussion is part of Forum 2000, a series of events launched by former Czech President Václav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel in 1996.