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Informal meeting of foreign affairs ministers

30.08.2018 - 31.08.2018
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On 30 and 31 August, the EU foreign affairs ministers will, upon joint invitation by Federal Minister Karin Kneissl and the High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, come to Vienna for an informal meeting, also known as Gymnich. These informal meetings take place bi‑annually and are hosted by the country holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union. They offer the possibility to discuss important issues in an informal manner. Contrary to the meetings of the Council of the European Union, there is no set agenda nor will there be an official outcome document.

The High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, presides over the Gymnich and, in agreement with the country currently holding the rotating presidency, compiles the points to be discussed. Likely topics of discussion are current developments in the Middle East, transatlantic relations, South-East Europe and the strengthening of effective multilateralism.

European Commissioner Johannes Hahn will also participate in the meeting.  

The informal meeting will be opened with a discussion on current developments in the Middle East. It is to be expected that the situation in Yemen, Libya and Syria as well as Iran and the Middle East conflict will be placed on the agenda. During the working session on transatlantic relations, ministers will discuss the general state of relations and will probably address concrete topics such as the preservation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and possibilities of cooperation regarding the denuclearisation of North Korea. Discussions about South-East Europe will be aligned to developments in the coming months, with a focus on enlargement.

The working session on effective multilateralism will take place together with the EU candidate countries Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Strengthening effective multilateralism and a rule‑based global order is one of the key priorities of the EU Global Strategy – the EU’s fundamental strategy document for its Common Foreign and Security Policy. At the same time it is one of the priorities of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

David McAllister, Member of the European Parliament and President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, will also participate in parts of the meeting. 

A media centre will be set up for media representatives on the ground floor of the Hofburg. Media representatives can obtain accreditation from the Federal Press Service, Ballhausplatz 1, 1010 Vienna.


The remarks made by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, at the press conference can be found on the page of the European Union External Action Service (EN only).


Official photos of this event will be published on the official Flickr channel.


Official videos of this event will be published on the official Vimeo channel.

This event fulfills the Österreichische Umweltzeichen eco-label’s criteria for Green Meetings.

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