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Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague
Photo: © MZV ČR / MFA CZ
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Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

 

Prague hosted from August 30th to 31th an informal meeting for EU ministers of foreign affairs—also known as Gymnich. The ministers discussed two main themes: EU relations with Africa and Russian aggression against Ukraine. They agreed on a full suspension of the visa facilitation agreement, which allowed Russians to receive a Schenghen visa in a simplified process. On the margins of the meeting, there was an informal luncheon with the Associated Trio countries: Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia.
 

The topic of the first day was relations between the EU and Africa. The heads of diplomacy focused on EU strategic communication with African countries in the context of Russian aggression against Ukraine, its global consequences, and fighting Russian disinformation. 

We agree that we need to fight the Russian propaganda narrative and disinformation that the Putin regime is spreading in the region. In spring, I published an article about Russian neocolonialism that was printed by many media outlets in African countries. In it, I warned about Russian imperialist desires and appealed to African countries to not forget that cooperation with Russia comes at a high cost,” said Minister Lipavský.

The next day was for discussions about Ukraine. Czechia already called for a complete revision of relations between the EU and Russia. The ministers further discussed unifying the EU's approach to issuing visas to Russian citizens, including the possible halting of the visa facilitation agreement.

“The ban on tourist visas for Russian citizens is part of our pressure on the [Putin] regime. It is the Czech position. During Gymnich we had a very open and honest debate. I consider it a success, a Prague consensus, that we agreed on a full suspension of the visa facility deal, in which Russians could receive a Schenghen visa in a simplified process. I also understand the fears of the Baltic states, Poland, and Finland that want to limit the movement of hundreds of thousands of Russians across their borders. We all acknowledged that they have the right for their own national measures in this regard,” shared Minister Lipavský. 

During the informal luncheon with the Associated Trio countries, ministers discussed the European perspectives of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia and the future of the Eastern Partnership.

The Gymnich meeting is followed by the Forum 2000 conference aimed at helping Ukraine. Its themes will be European perspective for Ukraine, post-war reconstruction, punishment for war crimes, and democratic durability, and security.

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

Informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Prague

 

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