EU foreign ministers to meet in Helsinki to discuss wider Middle East, hybrid threats and Arctic region

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 23.8.2019 10.49
Press release

The foreign ministers of the EU member states will hold an informal meeting (Gymnich) in Helsinki on 29 and 30 August. The topics to be discussed include the wider Middle East, the Arctic region and hybrid threats. In addition, regional cooperation will be discussed with the foreign ministers of the Western Balkan partners.

The meeting will be chaired by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

The meeting will start on Thursday 29 August with a discussion held jointly with the EU defence ministers on the subject of hybrid threats. Countering hybrid and cyber threats is one of the priorities of Finland's Presidency of the Council of the EU. During its Presidency, Finland aims to develop the EU’s crisis resilience and to increase awareness of hybrid threats. On Thursday, the foreign ministers will also have a wide-ranging discussion on the situation in the wider Middle East.

On Friday 30 August, the foreign ministers will discuss the Arctic region. Due to the warming of the climate, the Arctic region will be of greater strategic significance in Europe and globally in the coming years and decades. In Finland’s view, it is important that the European Union pays attention to the region both in its foreign relations and in its internal policies.

After the Gymnich meeting, there will be a separate ministerial lunch hosted by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto on the theme of support for defenders of human rights. The lunch will also be attended by a number of invited international human rights defenders.

Gymnich is the name given to the informal biannual meeting hosted by the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. The name comes from Gymnich Castle in the German town of Erftstadt, where the first such meeting took place.

Finland holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union between 1 July and 31 December 2019. During its Presidency, Finland is chairing six informal meetings of ministers, all of which are held at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki.

The meeting’s preliminary agenda and information for the media

Inquiries: Matti Nissinen, Director, European Correspondent, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. + 358 295 351 780

The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are of the format [email protected]