Sat. Apr 1st, 2023
Foreign Affairs Council with Foreign Affairs Ministers

The Foreign Affairs Council, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, will take place in Brussels starting at 9.30.

The Council will exchange views on the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

At 11.30 ministers will hold an informal exchange of views with the Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova Nicu Popescu.

The Council will then exchange views on Mali, and be informed about current affairs.

The Council is due to approve conclusions on Cameroon and the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. The Council is also due to approve principles regarding Russia and Belarus in multilateral fora.

Foreign Affairs Council with Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers

The Foreign Affairs Council will also hold a joint session bringing together both EU foreign affairs ministers and EU defence ministers, starting at 15.20. During this session, the Council is due to approve the “Strategic Compass” that is going to guide the EU’s action in the area of security and defence over the next decade.


Foreign Affairs Council with Defence Ministers

The meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in EU Defence Ministers format will start at 19.00.

Its main agenda item will be an exchange of views on the military and defence aspects of the

Russian aggression against Ukraine.

In this context, ministers will be joined via videoconference with by the Minister of Defence of Ukraine

Oleksii Reznikov at 19.20, who will provide them with an analysis of the situation.

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Doorstep High Representative: +/- 9.00 Press conference: +/- 18.30 in hybrid format

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Foreign Affairs Council – meeting page

Video coverage of the event in broadcast quality (MPEG4) and photo gallery (FAC + FAC jumbo) Video coverage of the event in broadcast quality (MPEG4) and photo gallery (FAC defence) Press conferences and public events via video streaming

Foreign Affairs Council with Foreign Affairs Ministers


Russian aggression against Ukraine

The Foreign Affairs Council will hold an exchange of views on the Russian aggression against Ukraine more than three weeks after its beginning and in the aftermath of the informal meeting of the EU heads of state and government in France, where the Versailles declaration was agreed.

Ministers are expected to exchange views on security and humanitarian developments in Ukraine, and focus on various ongoing strands of work. In this context, they will discuss diplomatic outreach and high-level contacts carried out with the objective to preserve the support of the international community, the possible further mobilisation of the European Peace Facility and the issue of disinformation.

In the week preceding the Foreign Affairs Council, the EU has adopted a fourth package of economic and individual sanctions in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The new measures include a ban on:

  • all transactions with certain state-owned enterprises
  • the provision of credit rating services to any Russian person or entity
  • new investments in the Russian energy sector

The Council expanded the list of persons connected to Russia’s defence and industrial base, on whom tighter export restrictions are imposed regarding dual-use goods, goods and technology which might contribute to Russia’s technological enhancement of its defence and security sector.

The EU also introduced trade restrictions concerning iron, steel and luxury goods, as well as sanctions on an additional 15 individuals and 9 entities.

Due to the fierce resistance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, Russia’s military advance is proceeding at a slow pace, with a focus on encircling some of the main Ukrainian cities and increased deliberate shelling of residential areas, civilian population and infrastructure. These serious violations of international law and international humanitarian law are producing a humanitarian crisis, with more than 3,000,000 people having already fled Ukraine and crossing into the EU’s bordering countries and into the Republic of Moldova.

On 27 February, the EU Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) arrangements were activated in full mode.

Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermines European and global security and stability. It is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population. Russia, and its accomplice Belarus, bear full responsibility for this war of aggression and those responsible will be held to account for their crimes, including for indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian objects.

The European Union demands that Russia, in line with the order of the International Court of Justice of 16 March 2022, ceases its military action and withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine immediately and unconditionally and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.


Informal exchange with the Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova Nicu Popescu

Foreign Affairs Ministers will hold an informal exchange of views with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, Nicu Popescu.

Their exchange is expected to focus on the regional security situation and its impact on the Republic of Moldova, notably the influx of large numbers of refugees from Ukraine. The EU will present an overview of its comprehensive support to the Republic of Moldova in facing the humanitarian situation, as well as assistance to strengthen Moldova’s overall resilience. Ministers will exchange on how best to support Moldova in the current context. The EU reaffirms its unwavering support to the Republic of Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and to a comprehensive, peaceful and sustainable resolution of the Transnistrian conflict in the “5+2” format.



The Foreign Affairs Council will exchange views on the situation in Mali and the future of the EU’s engagement in the country and the wider Sahel region.

The discussion will take place against the background of the political and security crisis in the country, which is heightened by the presence of Russian-affiliated mercenary forces (Wagner Group), and the risk of contagion in the region.

The Council will discuss in particular the role of EUTM Mali in the short term, and a possible adaptation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) approach in the longer term, including the possibility to enhance defence support for Burkina Faso and Niger, and increased assistance to the coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea.

The ministerial discussion will inform the ongoing strategic reviews of CSDP missions in the region, which are due to be presented in the coming weeks.

The political and security situation in the Sahel has been continuosly deteriorating and now threatens the neighbouring coastal countries in the Gulf of Guinea. The humanitarian and socio- economic situation, aggravated by the effects of Covid-19 on the economy and by climate change, is an additional challenge for stability.

The EU currently has three CSDP missions in the region: the EU Capacity Building Mission in Niger (EUCAP Sahel Niger), the EU Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali), and the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali). In April 2021, the EU adopted its “Integrated Strategy in the Sahel”, which reaffirms the EU’s commitment to support the Sahelian population and the primary responsibility of the Sahel states for national and regional stabilisation.


Current affairs

The Council is expected to be informed on the situation in Ethiopia, also in the context of recent bilateral meetings that took place in the margins of and following the EU-African Union summit of 17-18 February 2022. The High Representative may address other topical issues.

Council conclusions

The Council is due to approve conclusions on Cameroon and the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).


Foreign Affairs Council with Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers

Strategic Compass

The Council will aim to approve the Strategic Compass for security and defence, which sets out the EU’s plan to strengthen its security and defence policy over the next 10 years.

The Strategic Compass provides a shared assessment of the EU’s strategic environment, i.e. the threats and challenges the EU faces and their implications for the EU. It proposes operational guidelines to enable the EU to become a relevant security provider and sets out ways and means to improve the EU’s collective ability to protect the Union and its citizens.

Concrete ideas are proposed in the following four work strands:

  • Act more quickly and decisively when facing crises: e.g. improving the readiness of EU armed forces and civilian experts to reinforce CSDP missions and operations, as well as developing a European Union Rapid Deployment Capacity of up to 5000 troops to quickly react to different types of crises.

  • Secure against fast-changing threats: e.g. strengthening the EU’s capacity to prevent, deter and respond to hybrid threats including external cyber-attacks and foreign information manipulation and interference, as well as safeguarding EU security interests in the maritime, cyber, air and space domains.

  • Invest in the capabilities and technologies the EU needse.g. agreeing on common objectives for defence spending, providing further incentives for member states to engage in collaborative capability development, and jointly investing in key military capabilities to operate on land, at sea, in the air, in the cyber domain and in outer space, as well as boosting research and innovation to fill strategic gaps and reduce technological and industrial dependencies.

  • Partner with others to achieve common goals: e.g. strengthening cooperation with NATO and the UN, as well as with OSCE, AU and ASEAN, as well as boosting cooperation with individual partners such as the US, Canada and Norway and other countries.

The first version of the Strategic Compass was tabled by the High Representative in November 2021. Successive versions were discussed in February and March 2022 to reflect the debate between -member states, and take into account the Commission’s package on defence and space of 15 February, latest international developments, including in particular Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and, most recently the outcome of the informal summit in Versailles on 10-11 March.

Once approved, the Strategic Compass is then expected to be endorsed by the European Council on 24-25 March 2022.


Foreign Affairs Council with Defence Ministers


Russian aggression against Ukraine

The Council will hold a discussion on the military and defence aspects of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. In this context they will informally exchange views via videoconference with Ukraine’s Minister for Defence, Oleksii Reznikov, who is expected to provide ministers with an analysis of the situation.

Source – EU Council

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