Last Friday and Saturday, the EU Foreign Ministers met in Amsterdam for an informal EU Foreign Affairs Council, the “Gymnich” meeting. The main topics discussed were the European Union’s relations with Iran following the lifting of the international sanctions and the refugee crisis.
On the first day, discussions with EU Defence Ministers focused on preparing a new foreign and security policy strategy for the EU. Recent developments in the neighbourhood and around the globe underline the need for a strong EU. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz supports the proposal by Defence Minister Doskozil on dispatching personnel from the Austrian Federal Armed Forces to Greece in order to contribute to protecting the EU's external borders. The subsequent working meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers mainly focused on the topic of Iran.
A solution to the civil war in Syria can be found only when all players act in concert. Thus, a de-escalation of the situation between Saudi Arabia and Iran needs to be brought about. In this context, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz expressed his hope that Iran will fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed to in Vienna. In his discussions with his counterparts, Sebastian Kurz stressed the importance of negotiating re-admission agreements with countries such as Morocco and Algeria, for instance.
Countries that refuse re-admissions should be prepared to face cuts in ODA funding. “Europe needs to finally build up pressure if we want re-admission to work properly”, the Foreign Minister stated.
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