Brussels, 16 December 2021 (TDI): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European Affairs of Belgium Sophie Wilmes met the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece and in charge of European Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis on his visit to Brussels on the margins of the European Affairs Council and the European Council, on the 15th of December 2021.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss several agenda items included European Council coordination on COVID-19, energy prices, migration, and European enlargement, stabilization, and association process.

European Council Enlargement

Both ministers discussed several topics on the agenda of the European Council. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European Affairs Sophie Wilmes said, “The fact that the Council could overcome internal objections and come to conclusions together increases European credibility and sends the right message: the enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans is preserved, but strictly based on merit. Similarly, that 4 new negotiating chapters could be opened with Serbia is a recognition of the—albeit modest—progress in the rule of law reform agenda.”

Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece during the meeting
COVID-19: Omicron Variant

Both states discussed the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 and coordination of the European Council over the variant and its travel recommendations. Sophie Wilmes said, “We have to be vigilant for the Omicron variant. It is, therefore, a good idea to have travelers from third countries – even if they have been vaccinated – present a negative test result when they come to Belgium. In addition, it is important to coordinate to avoid hindering free movement in the EU.”

Evolution of Energy

Both ministers also discussed the evolution of energy prices. The geopolitical dimension of energy was also under discussion. The Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Foreign Minister of Greece discussed the market forces and market interference consequences.

They also discussed the need for diversifying energy sources and suppliers. Both ministers emphasized the importance of more consultation between the Ministers of Foreign/European Affairs and their Energy colleagues.

Migration

Both ministers, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, discussed migration regarding the regime’s instrument of migrants in Belarus. They discussed the EU Summit and the need to act in a workable, coordinated way.

In the last, the European Union’s broader sanctions policy also discussed.

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