Today 22 February, Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets is in Brussels to attend the meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union.
The meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council covered EU-Russia relations and the situation in Hong Kong. The ministers also held a strategic discussion with the United States.
“The unity of the European Union is of key importance,” Foreign Minister Liimets said. “Regrettably, Russia is not genuinely interested in any constructive dialogue with the European Union. The European Union should proceed firmly as a principled values-based actor. It is extremely important that we reached a political agreement today on imposing sanctions against Russia in response to its treatment of Alexei Navalny and peaceful demonstrators. These are the first sanctions to be imposed based on the EU’s new global human rights sanctions regime. The EU should increase its support to the civil society in Russia and offer meaningful support to the Eastern Partners whose territorial integrity has been violated by Russia. The situation in Belarus is also not showing any signs of improvement – we must put more joint pressure on the regime and increase our support to the civil society.”
The foreign ministers also discussed violations of international law by China in Hong Kong. They noted the need to offer additional support to the democratic forces, fair trials and free media.
The meeting of the council also included an informal discussion with the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken. “Transatlantic relations – US-EU cooperation – are crucial for Estonia. I am glad to see that today – a month after the new administration took office – the EU is discussing current international affairs with the United States,” Minister Liimets said, also emphasising the importance of multilateralism because cooperation with the United States is crucial for the protection of the rules- and values-based international order. “We also need dialogue between the United States and the EU on China. To maintain stability, the EU and USA should also provide more efficient assistance to the EU’s immediate neighbours, mainly Ukraine and Georgia.”
The ministers also exchanged views on other relevant topics, such as Myanmar, Sahel, Iran and Belarus.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia