CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY!
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY!
We had a very fruitful meeting of the Council, that, as you know, I decided to convene after the attacks on Mariupol, on the request of some Member States, in agreement with President Tusk, with President Juncker – to not only assess the situation on the ground that is extremely worrying and negative, but also to decide on our reaction to that. And on the further steps to be taken at the European Union level.
Let me first of all say that I would like to thank very much all the Ministers for their extremely responsible and constructive approach, that allowed us to have not only a very good discussion, but also to take unanimous decisions.
We have, first of all – I think you will receive the conclusions adopted in a while, if you didn't already get them – agreed to support all the diplomatic efforts that are undertaken, even in these hours, and I would refer explicitly to the efforts that Ambassador Tagliavini is taking in Kyiv, with the perspective of a possible meeting in Minsk tomorrow.
And we took decisions on the further steps that the European Union is going to take. You will see it in detail in the text, but we have decided to extend the restrictive measures, targeting persons and entities that were decided in March last year. We decided today to extend them until September of this year.
In addition to that, we have decided to have a proposal within one week of further names of individuals and entities, to be added to this list. That decision will be taken at the next Foreign Affairs Council, on 9 February. So, in 10 days. But within one week the proposal with additional names will come to the table of the Ministers, so the decision, in this sense, has already been taken.
And the third element of our decision, from our action, is to start the preparatory work. So the services, both in the EEAS and in the Commission, are starting the preparatory work on any other appropriate action that from our side can be taken in view of ensuring the implementation of the Minsk agreement.
This was result by consensus of a long and good discussion among the Ministers. As I said coming in earlier today, this was also something that I discussed in these hours and days with President Poroshenko and with Minister Klimkin.
And we hope that this can help putting pressure, in particular on Russia, to make positive steps and prevent negative steps that we have seen in recent days.
I will stop here, the conclusions contain other sets of measures from communication to other things that you will see, but I would say – I guess – your main attention was concentrated on the sanctions, that you might have noticed, I didn't refer to coming into the meeting.
But now – I cannot say that I'm happy to announce that we have taken these decisions, because I think the situation on the ground in Ukraine is not giving us any space for being happy, of anything – but one thing I can be happy of tonight, is that we kept our unity. This is, as we have always said, our strength, and we have shown that the European Union is ready to take further measures and to prepare for the measures for the weeks to come, if the situation not only doesn't improve, but gets worse, as was the case in the last days.