Austrian Foreign Minister in Brussels: "Sanctions are Having an Effect"

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: July 20, 2022; 11:36 ♦ (Vindobona)

This week, the Foreign Affairs Council met in Brussels to discuss the status of the Russian aggression in Ukraine as well as the coordination of sanctions and assistance. Relations with Latin American and Caribbean countries and digital diplomacy were also discussed.

Schallenberg highlighted the impact of sanctions at the Foreign Affairs Council. / Picture: © BMEIA / Gruber

The Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels met this week to discuss the status of Russian aggression in Ukraine and the coordination of related sanctions and assistance. Relations with Latin American and Caribbean countries and digital diplomacy were also on the agenda.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also participated in the Foreign Affairs Council, which took place on 18 July 2022.

Schallenberg stressed that EU sanctions against Russia are having their effect, and Russian narratives that this is not the case should not be accepted under any circumstances. Despite the fact that the sanctions will only take effect over a longer period of time, the Russian economy is expected to shrink by around 10% this year, despite the EU economy continuing to grow. Even so, further sanctions should be carried out with a sense of proportion. In order to close loopholes, increase the effectiveness of the sanctions and increase pressure on Russia, the new sanctions discussed in the Council are merely tightening up the existing sanctions.

With an appeal to his counterparts: "I believe that both politics and business are of the opinion: We want to live in a world where rules apply, where pacta sunt servanda applies rule of law, international law, and where it is not the law of the strongest that counts," he stressed the necessity of the sanctions.

It is also essential for all further sanctions that they harm Russia more than the people in the European Union. A united approach by all EU states is a top priority for Austria.

"We have acted so well and so united so far, let's make sure we don't let ourselves be divided now!" appealed Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

A video conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who was present by video from Kyiv, took place in order to discuss how the EU can continue to support Ukraine. To date, Austria alone has provided around 80 million euros in humanitarian aid to Ukraine and particularly affected states. In the context of the European Peace Facility, 500 million euros of support will be provided.

During the Russian war of aggression, geopolitical upheavals were caused, making it more important to intensify relations with other like-minded regions, such as Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence, the Council discussed how to further strengthen economic and political relations.

In the third agenda item, digital diplomacy, the Russian war of aggression also played a role. Since 24 February, cyber attacks, disinformation on the internet and deep fakes have increased massively. Austria therefore spoke out in favour of higher EU investment to counter these trends.

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs