Lipavský unveils Czech foreign policy plans for EU presidency

During the Czech Republic’s EU presidency, the country’s foreign policy will focus on the conflict in Ukraine, ending energy dependency on Russia, building defence capacities as well as on trade agreements, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský said at a press conference in Prague’s Černín Palace on Tuesday.

The ministry’s foreign policy goals are very much aligned with the EU presidency goals unveiled by the government last week. These focus around managing the Ukrainian refugee crisis and Ukraine’s post-war recovery, EU energy security, strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities and cyberspace security, the resilience of the European economy and the resilience of democratic institutions.

Mr Lipavský said that the Czech Republic will continue to support Ukraine in terms of military and humanitarian aid and seek tougher sanctions on Russia. It will also be the aim of the Czech Republic to isolate Putin’s Russia from various international forums, the foreign minister said.

When it comes to free trade agreements, Mr Lipavský said that negotiations with Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and some South American states are currently underway. EU cooperation with the United States within the Trade and Technology Council is also seen as key.

The head of Czech diplomacy said that the country wants to return Václav Havel’s legacy into its EU presidency activities and that this is why its action plan includes the resilience of democracy and human rights.

Geographically, the ministry intends to primarily focus on Eastern Europe, specifically on the future of the Eastern Partnership and on a common values policy of the EU towards Russia. Further areas of focus include the Western Balkans and supporting this region’s efforts to join the EU as well as the Indo-Pacific. The later has been identified as important especially in terms of cooperation in the cyber and space realms. Africa’s Sahel region is also seen as important in terms of security, regional stability and development cooperation.

Mr Lipavský also said that Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will take part in the informal meeting of EU heads of diplomacy in Prague which is scheduled to take place at the end of August.

Author: Tom McEnchroe