European security situation
The most important take away is that we reconfirmed our strong unity and united approach on the challenges to European security. Let me underline: our unity is our strength, and there is no doubt in the Council about this.
Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The Foreign Affairs Council was updated on the latest developments in Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine and had a discussion on the European security situation, covering also the situation in Belarus and Kazakhstan.
In the context of this discussion, ministers had the opportunity to informally exchange views via video teleconference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The Council also approved conclusions on the matter. Conclusions underline that Russia’s attempts to re-create dividing lines on the European continent undermine the core foundations and principles on which European security is built, and bring back dark memories of spheres of influence, which do not belong to the 21st century. The Council reaffirms its full and unquestionable support to Ukraine and clarifies that any further military aggression against Ukraine would have serious consequences and massive costs.
- European security situation: notions of ‘spheres of influence’ have no place in the 21st century (press release, 24 January 2022)
Ministers concurred that the EU should continue with diplomatic efforts to convince Russia to take the path of dialogue, and tasked the High Representative to keep coordinating the EU position with key partners like the US, NATO and OSCE. At the same time the EU will continue to push back on disinformation.
While the first choice is dialogue, the High Representative made clear that work in preparation of responses to a potential Russian aggression was advanced, and run in coordination with key partners.
Finally the EU will step up its efforts to enhance Ukraine and other partners’ resilience through a financial assistance package made of emergency loans and grants, support against cyber and hybrid threats, and support for security and defence, including through the reform of the Ukrainian military education sector.
The Foreign Affairs Council exchanged views on Syria based on information provided by the Special Envoy of the United Nations Geir Pedersen.
After more than a decade, the conflict in Syria is far from over and remains the source of suffering and instability.
The Council reiterated its call for a political solution and underlined that no normalisation, nor lifting of sanctions or reconstruction are possible until the Syrian regime engages in a political transition. Ministers once more demanded that the regime and its allies engage towards the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254.
The EU will work with like-minded partners, including the Arab League, to help the Syrian people and move the political process forward. It plans to organise the sixth Brussels Conference in May 2022, to generate funding for the Syrian people and for refugee-hosting communities, give voice to Syrian civil society, and add momentum for a political solution to the conflict.
The Foreign Affairs Council exchanged views on the latest developments in Libya, notably the postponement of the national elections, which were foreseen to take place on 24 December 2021.
The country is at an important crossroad and the EU remains committed to support Libyans in holding free, fair, inclusive and credible elections as soon as possible.
Ministers confirmed the EU’s priorities – Libyans have the right to choose their representatives through elections and the country must be freed of all foreign armed presence – and encouraged all stakeholders to agree on the way forward to give Libyans the possibility to vote in elections.
The High Representative also announced that the possibility of deploying an Election Observation mission would be assessed, once the Libyans decide on a new electoral calendar.
Concerning Mali, ministers condemned the presence of the Wagner group on the ground, and the decision taken by the Malian authorities to have a longer transition period of four years.
The High Representative announced that there was a political agreement to adopt sanctions against those spoiling the transition, in solidarity with the decision recently taken by ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African States.
The High Representative stressed that the EU was following developments in Burkina Faso very closely, expressed concern about the detention of President Kaboré and the presence of armed soldiers in the headquarters of the national Radio Television, and called for the respect of the Constitution and the liberation of President Kaboré.
The Council also approved conclusions on
- UN-EU strategic partnership on peace operations and crisis management: Council conclusions on priorities for 2022-2024
- Human rights: EU adopts conclusions on EU priorities in United Nations human rights fora in 2022
- Meeting n°3844
- 24 January 2022
- UN-EU strategic partnership on peace operations and crisis management: Council conclusions on priorities for 2022-2024 – 24 January 2022, 14:30
- Human rights: EU adopts conclusions on EU priorities in United Nations human rights fora in 2022 – 24 January 2022, 13:45
- European security situation: notions of ‘spheres of influence’ have no place in the 21st century – 24 January 2022, 12:07