In the run up to the talks, Maas called for EU unity´:
“We want to send a message today of EU unity on transatlantic relations, the Western Balkans and the Middle East, particularly Syria and Iran. The EU must speak here with one voice – only then will we achieve our joint aims,”
US and Iran key topics
The EU Foreign Ministers discussed changes in transatlantic relations. The US will remain the EU’s most important partner. At the same time, the US is creating a new situation by describing the EU as a foe or calling the alliance into question.
Foreign Minister Maas believes it is crucial to uphold proven international agreements, even if the US withdraws from them. Just a few days earlier, he had affirmed his goal of establishing an alliance of multilateralists. The EU remains convinced that the nuclear agreement with Iran has made the world a safer place. Part of this involves Germany and the EU maintaining trade relations with Iran. It was thus important to Maas to protect European companies from US sanctions. The talks in Vienna will now explore how payment channels with Iran can be maintained.
At the same time, Iran’s conduct in its ballistic missiles programme, its role in the region and the human rights situation in the country cause great concern. Maas firmly believes that the EU needs a comprehensive European policy on Iran.
Talks with the Czech Republic
Germany works on more levels with the Czech Republic than with almost any other country. Heiko Maas held talks with his Czech counterpart Jan Hamáček immediately before the Foreign Ministers’ meeting. He praised the trust that had developed between the two countries and said that Germany wanted to intensify strategic dialogue with the Czech Republic.