By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) – EU ministers gathered on Monday to discuss the bloc’s latest response to Russia’s war on Ukraine as well as to prepare for the EU leaders’ summit to be held later this week.
On the way to the meeting, Jessika Roswall, Swedish minister for European affairs, first expressed “terrible regret” on the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria, and said her “thoughts go to families and victims.”
Other EU ministers also expressed their solidarity with Türkiye, including EU ministers Tytti Tuppurainen from Finland, Peter Burke from Ireland, and Laurence Boone from France.
“We have to address this together and show that Türkiye is not alone in this disaster,” Tuppurainen told reporters.
“The European Emergency Mechanism has been activated and the President of the (French) Republic has offered to send rescue teams to the ground,” Boone asserted.
- Migration, sanctions on Russia
Roswall explained that “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, economic affairs, and migration will be key topics” of the meeting of European ministers in charge of EU affairs.
She also confirmed that “the Russian war against Ukraine will be the main topic” of the Swedish EU presidency after her government assumed the chairmanship of the Council of the European Union in January.
The ministers will discuss details of the 10th round of sanctions that the bloc aims to impose on Russia by Feb. 24, the first anniversary of the war.
They will also assess plans on setting up an international tribunal prosecuting war crimes, as well as the fate of frozen Russian assets that should be used for war reparation, according to several members of the European Commission, including President Ursula von der Leyen and Vera Jourova, commissioner for values and transparency.
The EU ministers will also address key topics of the special summit of EU leaders.
The meeting will take place on Thursday and Friday with the main focus on migration.
In a speech at the European Parliament, von der Leyen said she would submit an action plan to the EU leaders and urged “immediate” steps to tackle migratory pressure on the bloc’s external borders, with the priority of reinforcing infrastructure and surveillance at the land border between Türkiye and Bulgaria.
As a further point of the agenda, the EU ministers will also discuss the bloc’s economic response to the recent moves to the US Inflation Reduction Act and relations with the UK.