Foreign Minister Soini to Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

Foreign Minister Soini to Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels

The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will meet in Brussels on 13 and 14 May. Finland's representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini. The Council will discuss Libya and the situation in the Sahel.

The ministers’ discussion on Libya will focus on the situation in the country, which has further deteriorated following the military operation launched by General Haftar on 4 April. What happens in Libya has direct impacts on Europe, because a chaotic situation benefits terrorist organisations and human rights and smuggling networks

Finland stresses that it is important to ensure the unity of the EU to be able to support the UN-led political process and Libya’s Government of National Accord. The EU must call for an end to the hostilities in order to stop further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

The Sahel situation will be discussed at the foreign and defence ministers’ session with their counterparts of the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger). The Sahel region is facing multiple developmental and security challenges, and developments in this region have a direct impact on the security of Europe, too. Finland considers it important that the G5 Sahel countries themselves assume greater responsibility for the stabilisation of their region to prevent the escalation of the conflict to the neighbouring countries.

10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership

The 10th anniversary celebrations of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in Brussels coincide with the Foreign Affairs Council. Foreign Minister Soini will attend the Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting, which will discuss the results and future of the EaP. Minister Soini will deliver the concluding remarks at the 10th anniversary high-level conference.

The Eastern Partnership was established after the Georgian war at the Prague Summit in May 2009 to promote stability, prosperity and security in the eastern neighbourhood of the EU.  The partner countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. All partners have made progress in their reforms. However, progress has not advanced smoothly. The biggest problems concern the rule of law, corruption, human rights, civil society and independent media.

Major results have been achieved through the partnership. Examples of concrete achievements include facilitation of travel and student exchange programmes, energy efficiency, closer economic cooperation, and better education. Important areas or topics of cooperation in the future will be the environment and climate change, youth, digitalisation and countering hybrid threats.

Inquiries: Katja Kalamäki, Diplomatic Adviser to Foreign Minister Soini, tel. +358 295 351 518 and Matti Nissinen, European Correspondent, tel. +358 295 351 780, and Ari Heikkinen, Ambassador (Eastern Partnership), tel. +358 295 351 390

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]