Following the European Commission’s historic recommendation to grant Ukraine and Moldova the status of EU candidate countries, the Foreign Ministers of the EU27 are gathering in Luxembourg for their monthly Council meeting.
On Friday (17 June), Foreign Minister Baerbock commented as follows on the granting of candidate status to Ukraine:
Ukraine is also defending Europe’s values. For that reason alone, the EU cannot slam the door in Ukraine’s face. However, candidate status is about more than this: it is about whether we are able to act strategically at a historic moment rather than according to the book. Russia’s war is a historic watershed for our continent. How we decide now will shape relations in Europe for a long time to come – even though the accession process remains long and arduous.
In addition to finding a united position on the proposal put forward by the Commission, two further pressing points regarding Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine are to be discussed at Monday’s meeting:
- There will be an exchange with Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), on the ICRC helping to strengthen international humanitarian law beyond the frontlines in the Donbas.
- The dramatic impact on global food security, an issue on which a G7 conference will be held in Berlin on 24 June under Germany’s Presidency, will also be on the agenda. Among other things, concrete progress on grain exports from Ukraine – which are being blocked by Russia – will be discussed.
Exchange with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Shoukry
Egypt is one of the countries which depends on Ukraine and Russia for 80% of its grain imports. As well as this issue, which is crucial to food security in North Africa in particular, the talks with Foreign Minister Shoukry will address the planning and priorities of the COP27 climate conference in Egypt this autumn. The aim of COP27 must be to advance the global energy transition and the sustainable transformation of our planet on an ambitious scale.
A further issue: The EU’s regional relations with the Horn of Africa
A further important issue for the EU27 are the EU’s relations with the Horn of Africa, focusing in particular on recent developments in Ethiopia. There are initial signs of a political negotiating process following the humanitarian ceasefire agreed upon in March of this year. The task now is to send the right signals and provide the right incentives.
Last but not least, Foreign Minister Baerbock will, as always, use the monthly gathering of all EU Foreign Ministers for bilateral talks with colleagues from other EU member states and from the EU.