European diplomacy seeks a unitary position

European foreign ministers met in Brussels for “exchanges of views”, as stipulated in the meeting’s agenda. Among the heavy issues on their agenda, three days before a crucial European summit: the war in Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East, relations with Iran, and even the latest developments in the Sahel. And at the end of the year, Europeans are struggling to find common positions on these issues.

Support for Ukraine

Ukraine hopes that the 27 will manage to agree on its future membership of the European Union.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants Europeans to send a “message of unity” to Vladimir Putin on their support for Ukraine in the war, particularly on a military and humanitarian level.

But Hungary is slowing down the process as well as the granting of loans and additional aid to kyiv. His Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is calling for a “strategic debate” before the European Council’s decision. However, from the point of view of the European Commission, this debate has already taken place.

Some member states think that this is a poker move by the Hungarian leader, who hopes that his partners will pay him the promised 22 billion but whose payment is frozen for the moment, because of his failures to comply. rule of law.

The Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels also reaffirmed the need to be united in support of Ukraine, which must face a worsening Russian attack. Military and financial support, to also help the Ukrainian authorities to continue the reforms initiated.

The European Union has taken new sanctions against Iran, which produced and delivered drones to Russia, devices used in the war on Ukrainian territory.

Five companies (Shakad Sanat Asmari, Saad Sazeh Faraz Sharif, Baharestan Kish Company, Kimia Part Sivan Company and Sarmad Electronic Sepahan Company) and six individuals at the head of the Aerospace Industry Organization are targeted by sanctions including freezing of their bank assets.

The “catastrophic, apocalyptic” situation of Gazan civilians

The Foreign Ministers of the 27 recall that 85% of the population of the Palestinian territory is displaced and that the majority of the dead are civilians. Not to mention the destruction which “is reminiscent of that in Germany during the Second World War”.

However, European ministers continue to condemn the policy of Hamas, considered a terrorist organization, and to want to financially support the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. The EU could also condemn extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank, following the American model.

The Europeans’ objective is to revive the idea of a two-state solution. They emphasize that the conflict will not only be resolved with military means, but that it also needs a political settlement.

Open letters from European leaders

Several European leaders sent an open letter to Charles Michel, the President of the Council, to call for a “lasting truce” in the Middle East, in order “to put an end to the carnage”.

Italy, France and Germany, for their part, sent another letter to the head of European diplomacy to demand more sanctions against Hamas.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also called on Israel to adapt its military strategy to “authorize more humanitarian aid” to Palestinian civilians and to “more target” its military operations to avoid new civilian casualties.

The Sahel, an “unprecedented challenge”

European foreign ministers took note of yesterday’s ECOWAS summit and support its mediation in the Sahel.

The European Union deplores the deterioration of security and governance as well as the strengthened influence of juntas which are pursuing a strategic rapprochement with Russia.

The 27 are banking on stable partners like Ghana and Togo to, according to them, counter the repressive policies in several countries in the region.

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