ForMin Manescu attends informal meeting in Helsinki, meets Mogherini, foreign counterparts

Romania's Foreign Minister Ramona Manescu attended a Gymnich informal meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Helsinki, Thursday and Friday, where she also had a meeting with the High EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Manescu also met her counterparts from Spain - Josep Borrell; Estonia - Urmas Reinsalu; Bulgaria - Ekaterina Zaharieva; Slovakia - Miroslav Lajcak; Ireland - Simon Coveney; Greece - Nikolas Dendias; Germany - Heiko Maas; France - Jean- Yves Le Drian; Austria - Alexander Schallenberg; Finland - Pekka Haavisto, and Croatia - Gordan Grilic-Radman. "Issues of shared interest regarding the European foreign policy priorities were addressed, in support of the implementation of the EU Global Strategy and the Strategic Agenda, with the results under the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council being particularly commended. National priorities were promoted, including the immediate vicinity (the Western Balkans, Eastern Neighbourhood and the Black Sea region), strengthening the security and defence dimension of the EU in co-ordination with NATO, resilience, multilateralism and rules-based international order. Romania's commitment to strengthening the EU's role as a global player was reiterated," Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) reported in a press statement released on Friday. The agenda of the Gymnich meeting included current affairs such as hybrid threats, the Middle East, with emphasis on the situation in the Gulf, the Arctic region, and regional co-operation in the Western Balkans. According to MAE, the discussion on hybrid threats took place in a joint session with defence ministers, with the current state of the procedures at EU level being evaluated following their testing through virtual situations scenarios, with speeches centred on identifying mechanisms to optimise EU's swift and efficient response to hybrid threats, beyond the main competences of the member states, and also on co-operation with partners, especially NATO. "Foreign Minister Ramona Manescu highlighted the progress achieved in the area by Romania while holding the EU Council Presidency, with reference to making permanent the horizontal working group on hybrid actions, and also to promoting a coordinated approach of the hybrid dimensions - resilience - strategic communication, including organising a special event in Bucharest, in co-operation with the European Institute for Security Studies. The Romanian official also expressed support for the schedule of the Romania/Finland/Croatia trio," the release reads. The Middle East debate focused on analysing the state of the play in the Persian Gulf, where increasing tensions threaten regional stability and beyond. Also addressed were the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and recent developments in Yemen, Syria and Libya. "The Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs underscored the need to implement political solutions to crises and the importance of constructive involvement of regional and international actors, which will contribute to diminishing, in a sustainable way, the negative consequences, such as humanitarian crises and migration," MAE points out. Regarding the Arctic region, a priority of the Finnish Presidency of the EU Council as part of the regional dialogue, a general support was shown regarding the strategic importance of the EU's neighbourhood, including this area. The speakers highlighted the relevance of a more visible EU involvement, including in terms of climate change that will irreversibly mark the regional situation, raising security issues, but also economic or commercial opportunities. Manescu also underscored the importance of the EU's neighbourhood, of regional co-operation based on dialogue and rules, stressing that from Romania's perspective, the previous half-year, when it held the presidency of the EU Council, marked developments in this type of approach in the Black Sea region. Discussions with Western Balkans partners highlighted the importance of regional co-operation as a factor for coalescing dialogue in order to ensure security and stability, economic development and advancing the reforms agreed within the co-operation relationship with the EU. The Romanian official reiterated Romania's commitment to supporting the process of enlargement and the consolidation of the reform processes in the candidate countries, as well as to the regional co-operation process, emphasising the relevance to the EU of the existing multilateral formats (for example SEECP). Manescu highlighted the constant commitment of Romania to the European perspective of the Western Balkans region. These elements as well as other issues of shared regional and European interest were also highlighted during the meetings of the head of the Romanian diplomacy with counterparts from North Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov; Albania, Gent Cakaj, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor Crnadak. On the side-lines of the Gymnich meeting, the Finnish Presidency of the EU Council organised a working lunch with the Western Balkan and Turkish human rights partners, hosted by Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Peia, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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