The EU Foreign Ministers are meeting in Brussels for the Foreign Affairs Council

"On the agenda are Russia’s war against Ukraine and the situation in Belarus as well as in the Middle East"

March 18th, 2024
Editorial, News from Berlin
20240318 The EU Foreign Ministers.jpg

The EU Foreign Ministers are gathering in Brussels today for their monthly Council meeting. US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will join them via video and will take part in the discussion with their EU partners. Our support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s war of aggression and our help for people in Gaza will again be the main issues on the agenda.

With solidarity and strength at Ukraine’s side

Germany and the EU stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine. Our financial, humanitarian, military and economic assistance continues. Since the start of Russia’s war of aggression, Germany has to date provided Ukraine with support and payments to the tune of around 32 billion euro. Germany is thus one of the most important backers around the world. Today, the Foreign Ministers will establish an especially important pillar of support: an increase in military assistance for Ukraine within the framework of the European Peace Facility amounting to 5 billion euro for 2024. These funds can be used to finance military support such as ammunition.

Straight after the “elections” in Russia at the weekend, the human rights situation in the country and the curtailment of freedom of opinion and of political rights will be another topic on the agenda. The EU is working on further sanctions in response to the death of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Under the EU instrument against human rights violations, sanctions are to be imposed on more than 30 people connected to his death. Germany had been calling for this and submitted a list of proposed individuals in Brussels.

Democracy and human rights are also under threat in neighbouring Belarus. Following the elections in February, the EU Foreign Ministers will talk today about the difficult situation for the opposition and civil society under President Lukashenko. The German Government has condemned in the strongest possible terms the systematic repression during the elections in Belarus. The Lukashenko regime is doing everything to suppress the people’s desire for democracy.

Middle East: Immediate humanitarian ceasefire crucial

In the Gaza Strip, the civilian population still lacks everything. Humanitarian assistance is getting through haltingly to people – and the volume of aid is still far short of what is needed. An immediate humanitarian ceasefire is crucial, not only in order to provide the population with humanitarian assistance but also to facilitate the release of further hostages currently being held by Hamas. A swift breakthrough in the negotiations is necessary for this, even if it requires painful concessions.

At the same time, we will make every effort to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Relief goods of the World Food Programme are being dropped from the air over Gaza. The Bundeswehr is also involved in providing humanitarian support from the air. The difficult situation and what Europe can do to help bring about a durable resolution of the conflict will be discussed again in Brussels today. The progress made in reaching agreement on joint European action with regard to imposing sanctions against extremist Israeli settlers will also be on the agenda.


News from Berlin