Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council and informal meeting of foreign ministers

Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council and informal meeting of foreign ministers

Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will attend the informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Gymnich) in Zagreb on 5 March. The topics on the agenda are Turkey and Russia. In connection with the Gymnich meeting, an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council will be held on 6 March to discuss the situation in Syria.

An extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council will be held on 6 March to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in Syria and the neighbouring region. Finland is extremely worried about the security of the civilian population in the region. It is important to discuss the most effective ways  in which the EU can contribute to calming the situation in Idlib and promoting a political solution to the Syrian conflict, and respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by the situation in Idlib. The situation at the external borders of the EU must also be taken into consideration.

At the informal Gymnich meeting that precedes the Foreign Affairs Council, the ministers will discuss the relations between the EU and Turkey. Finland considers that, in spite of the current challenges, the EU must maintain the dialogue and channels for cooperation with Turkey. The EU must pursue its policy on Turkey on a long-term basis. Finland also considers that the rule of law and human rights issues must be kept on the agenda.

In addition, the ministers will discuss the relations between the EU and Russia on the basis of the five guiding principles of the EU’s policy on Russia, adopted at the Foreign Affairs Council in March 2016.

Gymnich is a biannual meeting hosted by the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. The name comes from Gymnich Castle in the German town of Erftsadt, where the first such meeting took place. The meeting will be chaired by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles.

Inquiries: Jeri Aalto, Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 50 472 0725, and Matti Nissinen, European Correspondent, tel. +358 295 351 780.

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format [email protected]