In the last week the Foreign relations of the European Union have, mostly, been focused on the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian federation. Nevertheless, other important themes have been dealt by the European institutions, such as the EU-China summit held on the 1st of April.
EU-China summit: Restoring peace and stability in Ukraine is a shared responsibility
Via videoconference a bilateral meeting was held on the 1st of April, with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, representing the EU, while on the other side China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang, followed by exchanges with China’s President Xi Jinping.
During the meeting the EU called for China’s support to stop the invasion of Ukraine, especially given the fact that is a permanent representative at the Security Council of the United Nations.
Bilateral relations were also part of the meeting. China’s sanctions on the EU, including different MEPs, were discussed and Brussels asked for an ease of such measures. Moreover, cooperation for a better preparation over new health threats, such as pandemics, and over climate change were also considered.
Finally, the EU reiterated its concerns about the human rights’ situation in China and it expects a more structured dialogue on the issue.
Armenia/Azerbaijan: EU hosts high-level meeting in Brussels
The European Union hosted a meeting of high level officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan reviewing their political and security situation and the full spectrum of issues between the two countries. This meeting was organized to be prepared for the upcoming encounter, hosted by President Charles Michel of the European Council, between President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of the Republic of Armenia in Brussels on 6 April 2022.
EU-US Human rights consultation and Shared Commitment
On the 28th of March, the European Union and the United States held the EU-US Human Rights Consultations at the level of senior officials in Washington. The two parts addressed the challenges to democracy and human rights in Europe and United States, as well as Asia, Africa and Latin America.
They also discussed efforts to defend against authoritarianism, promote respect for human rights and fight corruption during the Summit for Democracy’s Year of Action.
Finally, they agreed on the importance of cooperation in promoting respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Kuwait: High Representative Josep Borrell discussed bilateral partnership and regional consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine
The High Representative and Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell visited Kuwait on the 27th of March to strengthen the bilateral partnership between the EU and Kuwait and to discuss Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its regional consequences.
They, also, considered to enhance the regional cooperation in order to tackle the global challenges such as the climate change and the green energy transition.
In the talks the HR raised issues regarding nuclear talks with Iran or humanitarian needs stemming from ongoing crises in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. They considered also the prospects of a Middle East Peace Process, reaffirming the commitment to the two-states solution and continued support for Palestinian people.
Qatar: High Representative Josep Borrell in Doha to enhance bilateral and regional ties to engage on the new global security landscape
High Representative and Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell visited Qatar on the 26th of March with the aim of enhancing bilateral cooperation and to participate in the Doha Forum 2022, a key platform to discuss global challenges dominating the international agenda among international leaders and officials.
Another argument of the talks was a strong cooperation in reaction to Russia’s actions undermining the rule based system and the international security, and to stop the human suffering.
Finally, Borrell reaffirmed the EU’s interests in having a deeper energy partnership with Qatar and thanked the country for the positive response to the energy requests.
MEPs European Security Mission in Moldova
7 MEPs of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) met with the Moldova’s top political leadership from 31st of March till the 2nd of April.
During the visit, MEPs praised the generosity of the Moldovan people for hosting large number of Ukrainian refugees and they called to the EU to keep supporting Moldova in welcoming Ukrainian refugees fleeing from their country.
The discussions included also energy and cyber security threats on Moldova and focused on the need for the EU in assisting Moldova in increasing energy security arrangement and resilience to hybrid threats.
Finally, the delegation supported the Pro-EU government that has brought closer Moldova to the EU with the accession request.
An EP delegation observed parliamentary elections in Serbia
A delegation of the European Parliament was in Serbia, from the 31st of March till the 4th of April, to assess the conduction, in accordance with the country’s international commitments and international laws, of the presidential and parliamentary elections held on the 3rd of April.
After the end of the mission, the delegation will present the preliminary conclusions on the election process in a joint press conference held by the International Election Observation mission led by OSCE.
The delegation was followed by seven MEPs coming from seven different countries and six political groups.
On Monday 28th of March, High Representative and Commission Vice President briefed the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) on the COM 22 Work Programme. The MEPs quizzed Mr. Borrell on EU’s response to Russia’s invasion and the consequences of the war for EU’s security.
The president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, was in Kyiv on Friday 1st of April to express EU’s support and hope to the Ukrainian people and condemn the Russian attack, after invitation of the Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk.
After that, in Poland, she met with the Ukrainian families fleeing from the war at the Otwock school in the Warsaw region together with the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki.
Macro-Financial assistance to Moldova
A proposal for a regulation from the Commission regarding macro financial assistance to Moldova was adopted by European Parliament on the 24th of March. This proposal is given by the fact that Moldova has been economically affected by the Covid-19 crisis, the political stalemate after the presidential elections in November 2020 and the recent energy crisis.
The proposal is to give EUR 150 MIL, of which EUR 120 MIL in loans and EUR 30 MIL in grants. The condition to access to these money is the respect of effective democratic system.
The proposal was adopted on 14th of March by the Committee responsible (International Trade INTA), while it was adopted by the European parliament on the 24th of March on the first reading.
+ = voted in favour
0 = abstained
– = voted against
|+||558||ECR, ID, NI, PPE, Renew, S&D, The Left, Verts/Ale|
|0||20||ECR (4), ID (8), NI (3), The Left (5)|
|–||10||NI (1), The Left (9)|
Now that the proposal has been adopted by the European parliament, it’s the turn of the Council with its 1st Reading position.