EU foreign ministers discuss Belarus and EU–African Union relations
The EU Foreign Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Monday 21 September. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The main topics on the agenda will be Belarus, the relationship between the EU and the African Union, and Libya.
With regard to Belarus, ministers will continue the discussion on the internal situation of the country that was started in the previous meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council. Matters that are important for Finland include settling the situation in Belarus peacefully, ending the use of violence and stopping arrests of demonstrators, releasing detained political prisoners immediately, and respecting the rights of the citizens.
Foreign ministers will prepare the upcoming EU–African Union (AU) Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in the run-up to the EU–AU Summit. In the EU–Africa relations, Finland wants that the EU give a strong support for the African integration. Finland hopes that the discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic will turn towards green reconstruction, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the promotion of good governance and multilateral cooperation, for example. Climate change and the environment must be at the heart of the EU–Africa cooperation. Additionally, Finland considers it important that the situation in Sudan be discussed, because it impacts the regional stability.
With regard to Libya, ministers will hold a discussion on the political situation in the country especially after the ceasefire announcement of 21 August 2020. It is important to support Libya in the fragile security situation. Efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire and to reach a peaceful political solution must be continued.
Over a working lunch, foreign ministers will discuss the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood. Ministers will debate updating the EU's objectives in the Southern Neighbourhood, for example in light of the coronavirus pandemic. It is vital that the values that are important for the EU, including human rights, gender equality, good governance and the rule of law, will remain among the focal points in the neighbourhood policy.
Turo Mattila, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 350 613
Mikko Kinnunen, Director General, tel. +358 295 351 820
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]