EU foreign ministers discuss Ukraine in Brest

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In European terminology, it is called Gymnich, which is named after the first city in which such a meeting was held. The 27 European foreign ministers meet informally every six months in the country holding the rotating presidency. Informal because no formal decision can be made, only general guidelines. On Thursday and Friday, they are in Brest and seek to bring out the strategic independence of the European Union.

The meeting of the heads of diplomacy in the Union was preceded by a working session with the defense ministers of the 27 member states.

The situation in Mali and tensions over Ukraine were at the center of the foreign ministers’ discussions during these two days.

Europeans do not intend to follow the line of extermination

For Mali, their mission is facilitated by the leadership role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which they have chosen to follow and support.

As for Ukraine, they want to define the role of the European Union and reject accusations of underdevelopment in resolving the crisis.

The Europeans reiterated that they would not yield to the demands of Russia, which wants to restrict the role and scope of NATO.

We are in full agreement with the United States, in essence asserting the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell: “ It is understood that nothing of Europe’s security and stability will be achieved without us. »

Despite what has been said in recent days, we are in constant contact with the United States. The European Union has never been left out. On the contrary, we are constantly engaged in discussions through our relationship with the United States, and this will continue, because we have assurances that nothing will be decided on European security without significant coordination and participation by the Europeans.

This is the entire European defense structure in question

According to the Europeans, the possibility of resuming negotiations between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine (the “Normandy formula”) is again on the table.

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The Russian position, which calls into question the security system in Europe, pushes the 27 countries to take security and defense issues seriously.

Thus, the current crises will eventually lead to the creation of this defensive Europe that has been playing the role of Arlésiennes for thirty years, since the Yugoslav wars, as our correspondent in Brussels notes, Pierre Benazit.

Josep Borrell stresses that the challenge goes beyond Ukraine. Behind the current discussions with NATO, the United States, as well as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the entire European defense architecture is called into question.

The “rapid intervention force principle” is still disputed

Ministers must now begin in Brest the final work of the “Strategic Compass”, the white paper that will set directions for the coming years and must be adopted in March.

Josep Borrell was upbeat on Thursday, including on the aspect of a 5,000-man rapid-reaction force.

« Consensus is taking shape and the text is changing, but the principle of rapid intervention force is not in question. In the face of the events we are currently witnessing, the motivation is even stronger to develop such an ability “, Confirms.

Discussions are going much better than expected, until the High Representative captivated. And if the European Council in March adopts the strategic compass, Josep Borrell promises the swift implementation of this force of military intervention.

Read also: OSCE meeting on Ukraine: No closed door, the sequence is over

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