EU – Jean-Yves Le Drian attending Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 22 February 2021)


Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian took part in today’s council of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The ministers discussed the following issues:

  • the situation in Russia following the imprisonment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny. The minister urged the EU to adopt a strong, united response that among other things takes into account support for civil society and the need to preserve channels of dialogue with Russia.
  • the Iranian nuclear issue. The minister underscored the troubling nature of the current situation and presented the results of the E3+U.S. meeting held in Paris on February 18.
  • the situation in Africa, especially in Ethiopia and the Sahel. In the wake of the N’Djamena summit on February 15-16, the minister called on his European partners to support the new political, diplomatic and development-related momentum in the Sahel.

The ministers also discussed the human rights situation in Asia:

  • in Burma/Myanmar where the situation continues to deteriorate following the military coup, which is jeopardizing the democratization process that the EU had supported.
  • in Hong Kong. Given the increasingly negative situation following the arrest of pro-democracy activists, the ministers discussed how best to follow up on the joint approach decided on last July.

The ministers also addressed the “strategic compass” designed to provide the foundations for a common analysis of major global changes and guide the Common Security and Defense Policy. Mr. Le Drian reiterated our goal of adopting an ambitious document to strengthen European strategic autonomy, a theme we will highlight throughout the French EU Council presidency in the first half of 2022.

They also had an opportunity to exchange views via video conference with Antony Blinken, the new U.S Secretary of State. In line with the conclusions adopted at the European Council on December 10-11, their discussions focused mainly on multilateralism, regional cooperation (particularly in the eastern and southern neighborhoods of the EU), China and the Indo-Pacific.