Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: Foreign ministers meet in Berlin to discuss EU-Russia relations, Turkey and the situation in Belarus

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On 27 and 28 August, EU foreign affairs ministers will hold an informal meeting (Gymnich), hosted by the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. Foreign ministers will discuss the EU-Russia relations, Turkey, and the situation in Belarus. They will also have a discussion on the geopolitical impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the EU's strategic response to them.

The meeting will be chaired by High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.

The meeting will begin on Thursday 27 August with a session on current developments in Belarus. Finland emphasises the importance of refraining from violence and the use of force, releasing political prisoners, and engaging in national dialogue to resolve the situation peacefully. The will and fundamental rights of Belarus and its citizens must be respected.

On Thursday afternoon, foreign ministers will hold a debate on Turkey. The human rights situation and the state of the rule of law in the country are a cause of concern. Finland considers that, despite the challenges in the EU-Turkey relations, the EU should continue to have dialogue and maintain channels for cooperation with Turkey. The policy on Turkey should be persistent and consistent in all sectors. The EU should give a resolute response to Turkey’s destabilising actions in Eastern Mediterranean and show solidarity with Cyprus and Greece.

On Friday 28 August, foreign ministers will discuss the EU-Russia relations. Finland supports the strengthening of the five guiding principles for the EU-Russia relations and their effective and balanced implementation, including increasing dialogue between EU institutions and Russia in order to promote the common interests of the Union and the Member States.

The meeting will end on Friday with a working lunch on the geopolitical impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the EU's strategic response to them. Finland supports the “third way”, outlined by the High Representative, which strengthens the EU´s own role between the US and China and aims to reinforce multilateralism.

Gymnich is an informal meeting, hosted by the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, held every six months. The name comes from Gymnich Castle in the German town of Erftsadt, where the first such meeting took place.

Inquiries: Matti Nissinen, European Correspondent, tel. +358 295 535 1780

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.

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