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European Council discusses situation in the Middle East, addressing also gas pipeline in the Gulf of Finland

Government Communications Department
Publication date 27.10.2023 1.58 | Published in English on 30.10.2023 at 10.41
Press release
In the photo Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.

On 26 October, on the first day of the European Council meeting in Brussels, the EU leaders discussed the situation in the Middle East. The European Council condemned Hamas’ attacks on Israel and called on Hamas to immediately release all hostages while underlining the importance of ensuring protection of all civilians and enabling humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need in Gaza. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo represented Finland at the meeting.

Prime Minister Orpo welcomed the conclusions adopted by the European Council on the situation in the Middle East. “It is very important that the European Union shows unity in the face of the attacks in the Middle East. We achieved a balanced outcome that takes into account respect for international law,” says Prime Minister Orpo.

The EU is ready to support the political process for resolving the conflict in the Middle East. A further aim is to hold an international peace conference soon.

“The EU must work hard to find a solution to the conflict and to prevent the conflict from spreading,” Prime Minister Orpo says.

At the European Council, Prime Minister Orpo drew attention to the damage to critical underwater infrastructure in the Gulf of Finland. He stressed the importance of crisis preparedness throughout the EU.

“The ongoing crisis situation seems to be the new normal. This is why we need to take joint action to improve our preparedness for crises. This does not apply only to Finland and Estonia but also to critical infrastructure across all EU Member States,” emphasises Prime Minister Orpo.

In connection with the European Council, Prime Minister Orpo also discussed the incident in the Gulf of Finland with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. The countries will continue their close cooperation and exchange of information in respect of the damages to critical underwater infrastructure. Prime Minister Orpo also discussed the matter with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Council exchanged views with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via remote connection. The actual discussion on Ukraine will take place on Friday. According to Prime Minister Orpo, Ukraine must receive our unwavering support. Orpo stated that Finland is in favour of the additional funding proposed for Ukraine.

“Ukraine needs immediate arms assistance. In addition to this, we need to focus on long-term support,” says Prime Minister Orpo.

The EU leaders also held a discussion on the mid-term revision of the EU’s multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027. The aim is to reach an overall agreement on additional funding by the end of the year. At the meeting, the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union also provided a state of play on the ongoing EU Presidency.

The European Council will continue on Friday. At the Euro Summit, the EU leaders will discuss the current economic situation, and economic governance and policy coordination. They will also address migration on the last day of the meeting.

Inquiries: Jori Arvonen, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 16001, Tuomas Tikkanen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 523 5768 and Marko Ruonala, Project Manager, tel. +358 50 522 8233.