Ukraine, the Middle East, Georgia and the Western Balkans – a full agenda at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the EU Foreign Affairs Council

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the EU Foreign Affairs Council, © Photothek Media Lab

24.06.2024 - Article

As the EU foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg today, they have a particularly full agenda. Read on for more details on what Foreign Minister Baerbock and Minister of State Lührmann will be discussing.

The Ukraine Recovery Conference, the Council of the Baltic Sea States in Finland, the G7 Summit and the peace summit in Switzerland – international crisis diplomacy on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has kicked into high gear. Even though it has been more than two years since Russia launched its war of aggression on Ukraine, Russia is still losing its bet on flagging international support for Ukraine. Quite the opposite is true: The international community stands firmly behind the UN Charter and Ukraine’s right to self-defence. Today’s Foreign Affairs Council, which Ukraine’s Foreign Minister will attend through a video teleconference link, will be about the concrete form of this continued support. Given the ongoing critical military situation in Ukraine, the emphasis remains on shortages of ammunition and on air defence. However, there is also positive news to discuss: tomorrow will be the first meeting of the Conference on Accession for Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, marking the official beginning of EU accession negotiations with these two countries.

Continued focus on the situation in the Middle East

With what is referred to as the Biden plan, presented three weeks ago, a three-stage proposal is on the table that includes a humanitarian ceasefire, release of the hostages, and a path to long-term peace. The EU27 will discuss how both parties can be convinced to accept and implement the plan. Moreover, the humanitarian situation in Gaza remains a top priority, because even one week after the announcement of daily tactical pauses in military activity by the Israeli army with a view to facilitating the distribution of aid in the south of the Gaza strip, the situation there remains unbearably dire.

During the past several weeks, Hezbollah has steadily increased the frequency of its rocket attacks from Lebanon into northern Israel. The Foreign Ministers will therefore also talk about ways to act now and prevent an escalation of the conflict. After the meeting of the Council, Foreign Minister Baerbock will travel on to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon to engage in shuttle diplomacy (for more information, click here).

Exchange with the countries of the Western Balkans

EU enlargement in the Western Balkans is a geopolitical necessity. Although all six Western Balkan countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia have a clear EU perspective, they are at different points on their respective path to joining the Union. For all, membership requires that preconditions be met, and for this reforms are required. One criterion is that they must bring themselves more in line with EU common foreign and security policy. This will be one of the items that is discussed at the working lunch of the EU27 Foreign Ministers with their six Western Balkan counterparts.

Standing by the people of Georgia

Already in May, the Foreign Affairs Council addressed the situation in Georgia – and today, it is once again on the agenda. The gap between the pro-European population and Georgia’s Government, which is increasingly moving away from EU rule of law standards, is steadily growing. The Foreign Ministers will therefore discuss the situation in the country, as well as how to proceed in their relations with the EU candidate.

The team representing the German Government in Luxembourg

In addition to Foreign Minister Baerbock, Minister of State for Europe and Climate Anna Lührmann will also be in Luxembourg. Tomorrow, on Tuesday, it will be her turn to represent Germany at the General Affairs Council, and she will also fill in for the Foreign Minister after her departure for the Middle East.


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