The meeting of EU Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 7 December 2020 in Brussels focused on transatlantic relations, continuing tensions with Turkey and current trouble spots such as Ethiopia and Belarus.
In view of Turkey’s continuing provocations, for instance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria and the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the Foreign Ministers discussed the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey, which will also be discussed at this week’s EU summit:
Relations with Turkey are the strategic challenge. We can no longer accept the ‘one door opens, another closes’ policy pursued by Ankara. We should speak very clearly here,
explained Foreign Minister Schallenberg.
Following the recent US presidential elections, the future of relations with the USA was also part of the discussions.
Transatlantic relations are a matter of making the North Atlantic a bit smaller. In the past we have perhaps too often worked back to back instead of shoulder to shoulder. We now have the chance to change that,
The current situation in Belarus was again on the agenda, where state forces continue to use violence and repression against peaceful protests by civil society. The EU Foreign Ministers also adopted a new sanctions instrument to combat serious human rights violations. The new regulation will make it possible to freeze assets of people, companies and organisations involved in torture, slavery or systematic sexual violence. The Foreign Ministers also discussed the situation in Venezuela and Georgia following the parliamentary elections there and the implications of China’s controversial national security law for Hong Kong.