Brussels 24.05.2021 Upon request by High Representative Josep Borrell, the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Stefano Sannino, summoned the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the European Union, Aleksandr Mikhnevich, to condemn the inadmissible step of the Belarusian authorities, who forced a civilian plane to perform an emergency landing in Minsk and detained its passenger Mr Raman Pratasevich, an independent Belarusian journalist and activist.
Ambassador Mikhnevich was informed of the firm condemnation by the EU institutions and EU Member States of the coercive act by which the Belarusian authorities have jeopardised the safety of passengers and crew.
Secretary-General Sannino conveyed the EU’s position that the outrageous action by Belarusian authorities constitute another blatant attempt to silence all opposition voices in the country and demanded the immediate release of Mr Pratasevich.
Yesterday’s unacceptable act will be raised at today’s meeting of the European Council. The EU will consider the consequences of these actions, including possible measures against those responsible.
High Representative Josep Borrell decided to appoint Stefano Sannino as next Secretary General of European External Action Service (EEAS).
“I want to express my profound gratitude to Helga Maria Schmid for the remarkable achievements she has accomplished as Secretary General and for having built the EEAS into what it is today. Her contribution to the European Union’s global action is unrivalled. I look forward to continue working with Stefano Sannino, as new Secretary General of the EEAS. He brings with him a long and rich European diplomatic experience from his senior service to both the European Union institutions and the Italian government. I cannot think of a better candidate to steer the EEAS into its second decade.“
This decision will enter into force on 1 January 2021.
Stefano Sannino worked as EEAS Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues since February 2020. Previously, he was the Ambassador of Italy to Spain and the Italian Permanent Representative to the European Union. Mr. Sannino also served as Director General for Enlargement in the European Commission. He will be following Helga Maria Schmid, who has been Secretary General of the EEAS since 1 September 2016 and EEAS Deputy Secretary General/Political Director since 2011.
Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy announced today three senior appointments in the European External Action Service (EEAS):
Enrique MORA BENAVENTE as Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs, Political Director. He is currently Political Director at the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and previously Head of Cabinet of High Representative / Secretary General of the Council of the European Union Javier Solana.
Stefano SANNINO as Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues. He is currently Ambassador of Italy to Spain and was previously Permanent Representative of Italy to the European Union and Director General for Enlargement in the European Commission.
Charles FRIES as Deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and crisis response. He is currently the Ambassador of France to Turkey and was previously Ambassador of France to Morroco and Secretary General for European Affairs in Paris.
The three Deputy Secretary General will work under the guidance of Secretary General Helga Schmid.
Josep Borrell announced he “wants to further strengthen the European External Action Service to address changing international realities effectively“.
“With the appointments announced today, the EEAS will have a strong and experienced management team to advance the work in implementing the political priorities set by the High Representative”.