Minister Fajon at informal meeting of EU foreign ministers: “It is important we do not get used to this war”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Tanja Fajon participated in the informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers (Gymnich) in Prague which focused mainly on the proposal to suspend EU visas for Russian citizens in response to the Russia’s aggression on Ukraine. The foreign ministers supported the full suspension of the agreement between the EU and the Russian Federation on the facilitation of visa procedures for Russian citizens.
“I am pleased that we have shown unity and taken another measure at the EU level that clearly demonstrates our determination to condemn Russia's unacceptable aggression. Following today’s decision, the number of EU visas for Russian citizens will be substantially reduced. It will still be possible, however, for students and journalists, for example, to obtain visas quickly if EU Member States so decide. The same applies to individuals that may be seriously threatened by the Russian regime. This sends an unambiguous message to the Russian public that there is a clear difference between ordinary citizens and those who support the Russian aggression,” said Minister Fajon. “The main message at today’s meeting was unanimous: it is important we do not get used to his war. We must not get used to the idea that Ukrainian children are growing up constantly hearing air raid sirens and explosions, and hiding in shelters," she added.
The ministers also held a debate on EU–Africa relations, six months after the successful EU–Africa Summit in February this year. The Russian aggression against Ukraine and its global consequences have hit the African continent particularly hard, especially in the area of food security. While the EU is striving to assist African countries in the short term, it is also necessary to find long-term solutions and to combat Russian disinformation, which seems to hold sway in African countries.
Minister Fajon welcomed the debate on the issue and underscored the importance of fulfilling the agreements and commitments of the EU–Africa Summit. In her view, the cooperation must be adapted to the needs and requirements of our African partners, to which the EU should pay more heed. “A strong partnership with Africa must remain among the key foreign policy priorities of the EU. The war in Ukraine clearly shows that the dialogue with African partners on multilateral matters must be reinforced,” stated Minister Fajon.
She also insisted on the importance of preserving the unity of the EU and adopting a coordinated position towards Russia, which she also reiterated in the discussion with the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, who joined EU foreign ministers during lunch to exchange views on their European perspective.