Today 12 July, Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, and expressed solidarity with Lithuania in connection with the migration crisis brought on by Belarus. The foreign affairs ministers of the European Union also discussed the situation in Ethiopia, Afghanistan and the South Caucasus, and spoke of the geopolitics of new technologies and the creation of the Strategic Compass of the European Union.
Migratory pressure on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border was addressed as a topical issue. “I expressed solidarity with Lithuania in the migration crisis caused by Belarus, and called on all my European Union colleagues to help resolve this complicated situation, mainly in organising the repatriation of irregular migrants. I also affirmed we would support Lithuania in discussions on updating the restrictive measures against Belarus, if necessary,” Liimets said.
In addition to the actions of the Belarusian regime, EU foreign ministers also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, the South Caucasus and Ethiopia. “It is very concerning that the conflict in Tigray continues, affecting the stability of the whole region beyond Ethiopia, with the unacceptable suffering of civilians in violence. This is why I stressed at the council that parties must find a political solution as quickly as possible,” Liimets said.
EU foreign ministers also discussed the geopolitics of new technologies to make sure that, as these technologies develop, the European Union and the United States would maintain their competitive position internationally. They also exchanged views on the process of creating a Strategic Compass for the European Union.
On the topic of new digital technologies, Liimets underlined the importance of EU-NATO cooperation to ensure increased and more effective funding for developing and introducing new technologies and avoid excessive regulation. “As new technologies are used for realising geopolitical ambitions, we stand for the responsible use of technologies and support setting necessary standards that would reinforce our security,” Liimets noted.
According to the foreign minister, the process of the EU’s Strategic Compass also required enhanced cooperation with NATO and other strategic partners. “The Strategic Compass is a welcome opportunity to align our understanding of our common challenges and to make EU more relevant on the international arena,” Liimets added.
The Foreign Affairs Council also approved the extension of sanctions adopted in 2014 against Russia for six more months, until 31 January 2022. An arms embargo and restrictions in the finance and energy sectors and on dual-use goods were imposed in response to Russia’s destabilising actions in Ukraine.