EU foreign ministers to discuss Russia and meet US foreign minister.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs 19.2.2021 16.29PRESS RELEASE
The EU foreign ministers will convene in Brussels on Monday 22 February. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The ministers will exchange views on Russia, the Strategic Compass for EU security and defence policy, and Hong Kong. Foreign Minister Haavisto will give a report on his visit to Ethiopia and Sudan as Special Envoy of the European Union. The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to join the meeting by video conference. On 24 February, Foreign Minister Haavisto will attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council.
The February Foreign Affairs Council will have a strategic discussion on the latest developments concerning EU-Russia relations and the five principles underpinning them. The ministers will discuss Russia’s current human rights situation in the light of the poisoning and detention of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny and the arrests of demonstrators protesting his detention. Minister Haavisto will give an account of his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Saint Petersburg on Monday 15 February.
The Strategic Compass is an EU initiative to strengthen a common European security and defence culture. Its aim is to specify the objectives of security and defence cooperation defined in the 2016 EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, to enhance the implementation of the common level of ambition and to ensure a desired effect of the EU’s defence initiatives. Finland supports a proactive and comprehensive approach to strengthening European security and defence.
The foreign ministers will review the latest developments regarding Hong Kong. In July 2020, the Council adopted conclusions expressing concern over the impacts of the national security legislation adopted last year on the situation and civil rights in Hong Kong. In Finland’s view, it is important that the EU continue to closely monitor the situation in Hong Kong and, if necessary, react to the changes in a timely manner. Any new EU action regarding Hong Kong must be consistent with previous action.
Foreign Minister Haavisto will give the Foreign Affairs Council a report on his visit to Ethiopia and Sudan in early February as Special Envoy mandated by High Representative Josep Borrell. He will also present his proposal for further EU action, among others regarding the humanitarian situation in the Tigray region. The EU foreign ministers will meet the new US foreign minister Antony Blinken by video conference.
During his visit to Brussels, Foreign Minister Haavisto will also attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and, among other things, have a meeting with NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană.