RIGA – At the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, the European Union’s (EU) member states might agree on setting the global human rights sanctions regime into motion in connection with recent events in Russia, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said in a news conference following a meeting with Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets.
The minister said that the EU Foreign Affairs Council also expects High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell to report on his recent visit to Moscow. Rinkevics voiced confidence that significant progress will be achieved at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council and that member states will agree on launching the sanctions mechanism.
“At this point, I would rather not make predictions as to whether these will be concrete decisions with names and surnames, but I know that work is ongoing quite actively and satisfactory. Of course, it will also be a broader discussion about relations with Russia. I think that we can clearly see Russia’s attempts to divide the EU on its foreign policy,” the Latvian minister said.
He noted that Russia is not the only country doing this. Rinkevics believes therefore that it is necessary to strengthen the understanding that only common EU policy can be effective. Discussions are also necessary on the best tactics and strategy for relations with Russia, the minister said.
“This will be an in-person discussion, and I would like to hope that it will result in clear messages, from sanctions to further steps to be taken by the EU’s External Action Service and foreign policy makers,” Rinkevics said.
The Estonian foreign minister indicated that the sanctions are an important issue and that it is necessary to talk about the application of the European human rights sanctions mechanism, because Russia has violated on human rights by cracking down on peaceful demonstrations.