Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs 7 and 8 September 2017 in Tallinn attended an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (Gymnich). The meeting focused on the implementation of the defence aspect of the Global Strategy, North Korea, Middle East Peace Process, Venezuela, as well as fighting radicalization and violent extremism.
The two-day meeting began with a joint part between foreign and defence ministers, which discussed the defence package within the Global Strategy, with an emphasis on further efforts to launch PESCO and CARD, as well as the operationalization of the European Defence Fund. The Croatian side welcomed the activities aimed at operationalizing the existing initiatives within the defence package, including permanent structured cooperation, underscoring the importance of complementarity, inclusiveness and political autonomy of member states. Croatia advocates a transparent model of defence cooperation strengthening.
In light of the recent events in the Korean Peninsula and North Korea’s latest nuclear test, the ministers reviewed the current situation and agreed on the need to increase the pressure on North Korea. In that regard, preparations are to begin for additional autonomous EU measures, which should pave the way for opening channels for diplomatic dialogue in order to permanently defuse tensions.
Also discussed was the status of the Middle East Peace Process, confirming the EU’s commitment to a two-state solution, as well as the recent developments in Venezuela.
With foreign ministers of accession candidates talks revolved around how to combat radicalism and violent extremism, confirming the importance of continued cooperation and joint efforts in response to these challenges.
After the official part of Gymnich, the Estonian presidency organized an informal meeting with ministers of the Eastern Partnership states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) to discuss prospects of the Eastern Partnership policy and concrete cooperation goals in view of the Brussels summit in November, with an emphasis on building neighbourhood resilience, especially in the security aspect.
On Gymnich’s sidelines, Pejčinović Burić held a series of bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of Estonia, Lithuania, UK and Georgia.