At the meeting, EU foreign ministers discussed EU support for Ukraine, EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and the Western Balkans. The EU Foreign Affairs Council was preceded by a meeting of the EU-Canada Joint Ministerial Committee. During the meeting, the parties discussed global challenges in the world, including foreign policy and security priorities, as well as EU-NATO cooperation.
During the meeting, Rinkēvičs expressed Latvia’s support for granting Ukraine the status of an EU candidate country. He emphasized the need to maintain coordinated international political and diplomatic pressure on Russia and Belarus, and to maximize Russia’s fee for continuing the unjustifiable war. Coordinated support for all types of Ukraine’s immediate needs must also be continued.
“Russia must be brought to justice in international courts and other legal mechanisms used to investigate war crimes and crimes against peace and humanity. In addition, restrictive measures in the financial and energy sectors, as well as in other sectors, must be strengthened, sanctions against natural and legal persons must be extended, including responsible for propaganda and disinformation in Russia, “said the Foreign Minister.
He believes that a common EU framework is needed for the use of frozen Russian funds in the member states for the future reconstruction of Ukraine. Thus, the sanctions should continue until the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory and an agreement on Russia’s commitment to rebuild Ukraine.
Speaking about the Western Balkans, the Latvian Foreign Minister expressed the view that the enlargement countries are expected to act in accordance with the EU’s values and goals, and in particular with clear support for the EU’s position on the Russian war in Ukraine.
“From Serbia, as a candidate country for the European Union, we expect the full implementation of European Union decisions, including sanctions against Russia and Belarus, otherwise we cannot support the further accession process,” Rinkēvičs said.
At the same time, the Minister drew attention to the need to strengthen the resilience of the Western Balkans to hybrid threats and disinformation. The Minister expressed Latvia’s support for the start of accession negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia as soon as possible.