Bratislava, September 3 (TASR) – The most interesting topic of an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Bratislava on Friday and Saturday was Turkey, said Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak at a joint press conference with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Saturday.
Turkey was discussed twice – first on Friday (September 2) among EU-member states, and then on Saturday with Turkish European Affairs Minister Omer Celik present. „We discussed how we view developments in Turkey and the further development of relations between the EU and Turkey,“ said Lajcak.
Apart from Turkey, the ministers at the event, which was organised within the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, also evaluated the Minsk peace process and its prospects and assessed the implementation of the recently adopted EU global strategy in various fields.
Representatives of EU candidate countries (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) also took part in the meeting. „The talks were devoted to topics such as preventing radicalism, extremism and fighting terrorism. When it comes to these issues, we are partners, as [such issues] have been threatening us all, so we have to fight them together,“ said Lajcak.
In addition, the EU foreign ministers held talks with representatives of the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) on the future of this platform and on the further development of relations between the EU and the six countries.
Before Mogherini outlined the specific outcomes of Gymnich she praised Slovakia for its work within the presidency. „Judging by the very intensive work that has been done over the past two days, I can say that the Slovak presidency is already a great success that has significantly contributed towards building joint stances and has moved a number of important issues forward,“ she said.
Meanwhile, all the EU foreign ministers present at Gymnich expressed full solidarity with the Turkish minister and deep respect in relation to how institutions and the Turkish people stood together in order to defend democracy against the attempted military coup in July.
A joint statement coming out of the talks with Turkey was a repeated commitment to further dialogue as well as reassurance that all the approved agreements will be respected (including visa liberalisation, developing a customs union and managing migration flows).