Press Releases EEAS: Informal meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich): Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival

EEAS: Informal meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich): Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival

Bom dia, good morning,

We are going to discuss about Belarus today, for sure. It is only two days after the [EU] leaders took important decisions on Belarus and we are going to discuss how to implement the decision of going to economic and sectorial sanctions to Belarus. This is going to be an important issue on our meeting.

But we are going to talk also about the European Union-Africa Partnership, about the Indo-Pacific Strategy and about the conflicts in our Eastern Neighbourhood, which are affecting our security.

So we have a lot of issues on the table.

We will start by Belarus, the hijacking of the plane and the detention of two passengers is something that is completely unacceptable. And we will start discussing the implementation of the sectorial and economic sanctions.

That is all I can tell you. Keep in mind: Indo-Pacific, European Union-Africa partnership, Belarus and the conflicts in our Eastern Partnership [region].

Also, during the lunch, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Jordan [Ayman Safadi] will join us and we will take stock of the situation in the Middle East, especially the situation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine after the ceasefire.

We have a very, very busy agenda.

Thank you.



Q. Will potash be on the sanctions list?

This is an informal [Foreign Affairs] Council; we cannot take decisions. We are going to discuss about how to proceed. The personal sanctions have very much advanced at the technical level. The economic and sectoral sanctions – we will start discussing also at the technical level. But today we are going to give only guidance to our technical experts. Thank you.

Follow-up question: So you are not talking about sanctions?

We are not going to take decisions, but we are going to talk about it.

Q. You were tasked by the European Council to prepare targeted economic sanctions. Can you give us an idea where you are heading and what is the timeline?

Look, I have ideas but I cannot tell you before discussing with the colleagues. It would not be very nice for them.

Follow-up question: But is it something that will also touch on EU companies – that they cannot do business anymore with Belarusian companies?

Let us see.

Q. In the Eastern Partnership, there were so many opposition people who are now brutally put away. Shouldn’t the EU have a stronger voice in this area? Shouldn’t the EU change the perspective towards the Eastern Partnership? If you look at Belarus for example has the EU not been too weak? Shouldn’t you be stronger there?

We are going to do what the European Council decided: to go further on the personal sanctions and to look at economic and sectorial sanctions. That is what we can do.

Thank you.

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