Source: Republic of Greece – Foreign Affairs
In the video conference of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs that was held today, upon initiative of my Spanish counterpart Arancha González Laya, ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, we focused on the European Neighbourhood Policy, which is one of the main topics on tomorrow’s agenda.We agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation with our partners in North Africa and the Middle East in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on security and social stability. In this context, we stressed the importance of EU assistance towards the improvement of socio-economic conditions, healthcare systems and protection of vulnerable social groups in these countries. We also talked about the need for a comprehensive, effective reaction from the EU to disinformation campaigns originating in third countries in the midst of the pandemic. Campaigns aimed at undermining our citizens’ trust in the European Union. Moreover, we discussed the potential for deepening cooperation and coordination with the countries of North Africa and the Middle East in order to optimise management of migration routes and respond effectively to irregular migration and its root causes, as well as the very important issue of returns, always taking into account the protection of human rights. Additionally, we exchanged views on the EU’s energy security and connectivity, on securing alternative energy routes, including the emerging potential of the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as on the important potential of renewable energy sources for the protection of the Mediterranean from the impacts of climate change. In this regard, I highlighted the positive prospects offered by the ongoing exchange of experiences and best practices on environmental protection issues, in the context of the trilateral cooperation schemes Greece and Cyprus maintain with our partners in the region.Finally, we agreed with our Spanish counterpart’s proposal for the holding, as soon as circumstances allow, of a summit meeting between the EU and the countries of the southern neighbourhood.