The Council held a comprehensive and strategic discussion on EU-Russia relations.
During the debate a shared assessment emerged that Russia was drifting towards an authoritarian state and away from Europe. Ministers restated their unity of intent, and discussed how relations with Russia could develop within the framework of the five guiding principles and focused on: pushing back on infringements of international law and human rights, containing disinformation and cyberattacks, but also engaging on issues of interest to the EU.
In view of the latest developments, ministers agreed to proceed with work on future restrictive measures in response to serious violations of human rights.
Video Conference with US State Secretary Antony Blinken
The Council exchanged views, via video conference, with the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the substantive agenda for EU-US cooperation on key global, foreign and security policy issues.
The Council was informed about the deteriorating situation and agreed on a set of short and longer-term actions, in addition to the initial response package adopted last July.
High Representative Borrell briefed ministers on Myanmar and the EU's response to the Military coup of 1st February, and the Council adopted conclusions on this issue.
Ministers reached a political agreement to apply sanctions, targeting the military responsible for the coup and their economic interests. It was also decided that all direct financial support from EU development assistance to the country's government’s reform programmes would be withheld. At the same time, it was agreed that the EU would continue to support civil society, and provide basic services to the people of Myanmar.