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Foreign Affairs Council, 12 December 2022 #adessonewsitalia

Main results

Russian aggression against Ukraine

The Foreign Affairs Council exchanged views on the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Before the Council discussion, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, shortly addressed EU ministers via video conference, and briefed them about the latest developments on the ground and Ukraine’s current priorities.

Ministers discussed the latest developments, notably the systematic attacks on civilians and the ongoing weaponisation of winter by Russia.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

“1.5 million people are without electricity just in Odesa right after drone strikes from Russia. In Odesa it is around 0 degrees Celsius cold. It is clear that Putin is trying to freeze Ukraine into submission deliberately depriving millions of Ukrainians of water, electricity and heating. This can be called crimes against humanity, these are war crimes. […] The courage of the Ukrainian people deserves respect certainly, but more than respect and applause what they need is support.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

The Council discussed how to assist Ukraine in repairing its energy system and to increase EU’s electricity exports to Ukraine, and EU’s work on ensuring accountability for Russian crimes committed during the war in Ukraine.

The Council discussed ongoing work on the 9th package of sanctions against the Kremlin for escalating its aggression against Ukraine.

Iran

The Foreign Affairs Council had an exchange of views on Iran, in light of the latest developments in and outside the country.

The Council condemned the unacceptable repression of the ongoing protests and the worsening human rights situation, as well as Iran’s military cooperation with Russia, including delivery of drones deployed by Russia in its war of aggression against Ukraine. Ministers also focused on the prospects of renewal of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), and regional security. The Council approved conclusions on these matters.

The Council adopted further sanctions against Iran for ongoing violations of human rights in the country, and for the help that Iran has provided to Russia in its aggression against the Ukrainian people.

Lastly the High Representative updated ministers on the state of play of the JCPOA.

You will understand that the JCPOA is in a very difficult situation. But I think that we do not have a better option than the JCPOA to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. This remains in our own interest, and that is why I still believe that we have to separate the sanctions on human rights and arms provision to Russia from the nuclear programme. In spite of the fact that the nuclear deal remains in a stalemate and the escalation of Iran nuclear programme is of great concern, we have to continue engaging as much as possible in trying to revive this deal.

Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Current affairs

The Council reviewed the EU Monitoring Capacity to Armenia which will complete its activities on 19 December. In order to maintain the EU’s credibility as a facilitator of dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a team will be deployed to Armenia as of 20 December to contribute to the planning of a possible Civilian mission to be launched, in case of agreement, in 2023.

The Council then discussed the deteriorating situation between Kosovo* and Serbia, where the latest incidents confirm the worrisome downwards spiral in the bilateral relations, and agreed on possible steps to try and defuse tensions in North Kosovo.

Since August we are experiencing a vicious cycle of confrontations, provocations and reactions that has escalated in the past few days leading to serious security incidents, including an attack against our EULEX mission and on Kosovo police. Barricades blocking roads, armed people roaming the streets is not something that we are ready to accept from partners who aspire to a European future. This situation has to end. Barricades have to be removed, calm must be restored. The Council clearly called on both sides to refrain from violence and provocative actions.

Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

The High Representative suggested to ministers to send additional reinforcements to the EULEX mission, and asked the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues, Miroslav Lajčák, to travel to the region before the European Council in order to assess the situation and debrief the EU Leaders.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

The Council also exchanged views on the Republic of Moldova, the Southern neighbourhood, human rights, Tunisia, and the Global Gateway.

Council conclusions and decisions

The Council approved conclusions on Iran, Yemen, and the Civilian CSDP Compact.

The Council agreed on increasing the financial ceiling of the European Peace Facility by € 2 billion in 2023. It also agreed that, in case of need, the ceiling can be increased by an additional €3.5 billion until 2027.

The Council established a military partnership mission for Niger, in response to the request from the Niger government, to underline the EU’s commitment to the stability of the Sahel region.

The Council imposed restrictive measures on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in light of the continued development of ballistic missiles in violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The Council prolonged the mandates of EUCAP Somalia, the EU’s civilian capacity-building mission, EUTM Somalia, the EU’s military training mission, and EU Naval Force Operation ATALANTA, one of the EU’s executive military maritime operations, until 31 December 2024.

A-items

– Restrictive measures in view of the situation in Mali

The EU restrictive measures against individuals and entities responsible for threatening the peace, security, or stability of Mali, or for obstructing or undermining the successful completion of Mali’s political transition were renewed until 14 December 2023.

Other A items

The Council also adopted without discussion the items on the lists of non-legislative A items.

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“https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2022/12/12/”

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