Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu is attending today an informal meeting of the European Union heads of diplomacy (Gymnich format) in Lisbon, Portugal, under the Portuguese presidency of the EU Council.
According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE), the agenda includes the protracted conflicts in the Eastern Neighbourhood, an item included upon Romania’s proposal, EU-Africa relations and the European Union’s strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific region. The European ministers will also have an informal lunch with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi as their guest.
The debate on protracted conflicts in the Eastern Neighbourhood is held at the initiative of Romania following a letter from Aurescu endorsed by ten EU counterparts – Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, in November 2020 to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
“This is the first time that such an issue is included on the FAC’s agenda at the initiative of Romania. European ministers will evaluate action guidelines that could be agreed on and implemented to increase the EU’s commitment and efficiency, and concrete tools that can be used by the EU to resolve protracted/frozen conflicts in the wider Black Sea region. Minister Bogdan Aurescu will point out that these conflicts pose a major threat to the stability and security of the immediate vicinity of the European Union, the European continent, Euro-Atlantic security overall, so the EU needs to be more and more effectively involved in their sustainable settlement, with a broader goal of strengthening the resilience of Eastern Partnership partner members Bogdan Aurescu will present a series of concrete proposals that allow for an integrated and coherent approach of the processes for resolving these conflicts in accordance with international law and in close coordination with all relevant actors (OSCE, UN, like-minded international partners, especially the USA).”
According to MAE, discussions on EU-Africa relations will focus on the analysis of the state of relations and the prospects for holding the Sixth Summit with the African Union, planned for the first half year of 2022, as well as ways to deepen the political and economic partnership based on shared interest, values and action. Minister Bogdan Aurescu will voice support for these objectives, based on the EU strategy of diversifying co-operation with Africa of March 2020 and will focus on issues related to the continent’s security, economic and trade co-operation, support for combating the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to strengthen interpersonal contacts.
The meeting will also discuss the EU’s strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific region. On April 19, the EU Council Conclusions on a Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific were adopted. According to MAE, talks will focus on an exchange of views for a joint communication of the High Representative and the European Commission on co-operation in the Indo-Pacific region, scheduled for publication in September 2021. Aurescu will support strengthening the political dimension of the EU approach and say that Romania is interested in contributing to its implementation in areas such as digital connectivity, especially cyber security, and the promotion of democracy and the strengthening of the rule of law, including from the perspective of Romania currently holding the Presidency of the Community of Democracies.
At the informal lunch with the Jordanian foreign minister, an exchange of views on recent developments in the Middle East will take place and the state of EU-Jordan relationships will be reviewed. Aurescu will reiterate Romania’s support for the aspirations of Jordan to have closer relations with the EU and will highlight the opportunities for the development of EU-Jordan relations offered by the New EU Agenda for the Mediterranean.