Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Zagreb on March 5 and the extraordinary session of the Foreign Affairs Council the following day.
During the informal meeting on March 5, the ministers will discuss relations between the EU and Russia as well as relations between the EU and Turkey. With respect to Russia, the discussion should initiate a substantive debate on the relationship, with due consideration for the five guiding principles agreed upon in 2016 in order to steer relations between the EU and Russia. With respect to the discussion on Turkey, the minister will stress the need for a firm and demanding dialogue on the different aspects of the relationship between the EU and Turkey, including with respect to the crises in Syria and Libya.
An extraordinary formal meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council will take place on March 6 to address the crisis triggered by the offensive by the Syrian regime and its supporters, notably its Russian supporters, in the Idlib region. Jean-Yves Le Drian will re-examine the serious political, humanitarian, migration and security consequences of this crisis. He will reaffirm the importance of European unity in order to work toward a de-escalation in Syria and to address the suffering of the civilian populations by strengthening European humanitarian assistance. The minister will call for the rejection of any exploitation of the migration issue by Turkey while responding to the needs of the refugees in the region.
With respect to the concerns relating to the Coronavirus in EU countries, the ministers will also discuss this issue in order to reaffirm the need to strengthen coordination at the European level regarding the exchange of information, health measures, relations with third countries and public communication. These topics will also be included on the agenda of the extraordinary meeting of the EU Health Council on March 6 in Brussels.