Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (Gymnich), due to take place in Sofia from February 15 to 16 at the invitation of the Bulgarian presidency and the high representative.
The agenda will include following points:
- Syria: The ministers will reaffirm the central role of the Geneva process, propose ways to strengthen it and will reaffirm the EU’s support for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. Special attention will be given to the role of countries in the region in this process, to coordination between partner and like-minded countries, to support for the opposition and to EU humanitarian aid efforts;
- Western Balkans: Following the publication on February 6 of the Commission’s strategy for the Western Balkans, the discussions will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the European perspective and to emphasize the reforms which must be implemented by the countries of the region, notably with respect to the rule of law, so that they are able to meet the conditions for accession;
- North Korea: Jean-Yves Le Drian will underscore that the backdrop of rapprochement between the two Koreas, marked by the participation of North Korean athletes at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, does not negate the need to continue to take a firm stance vis-à-vis the Pyongyang regime in order to steer it toward starting negotiations on its nuclear and ballistic program;
- Security and defense: In the presence of the foreign ministers of the candidate states, the ministers will discuss the participation of these countries in the Common Security and Defense Policy operations and the strengthening of cooperation in the face of shared challenges such as the fight against trafficking and organized crime, radicalization, the spread of small arms and light weapons and illegal migration.