History and future in my Cuban trip

History and future in my Cuban trip

Last January, at the CELAC summit in Costa Rica, I first met president Raúl Castro. He invited me to visit Cuba, and I tried to honour his invitation as soon as possible. And this is an exciting moment to be in Havana! Today I had again the pleasure of a long and interesting meeting with president Castro: we had a two-hour discussion, covering the wide range of EU-Cuba relations, with no exception, and also the regional development, the talks with the United States, the relations in the region, a little bit of history but a little bit of future as well. I have started my visit here by meeting this morning with the Cardinal Ortega, with whom we discussed not only the role of the Church in Cuba but also the diplomatic efforts of the Catholic Church in the region. I followed the day with a meeting with two economic ministers: minister Malmierca, with whom we discussed in particular our trade relations, our cooperation and foreign investments, and with minister Murillo with whom we discussed the implementation of the guidelines – the lineamentos – and how to strengthen EU-Cuba relations in this process. I then had a meeting with the president of the national assembly, Mr Lazo, and a long meeting with my counterpart, minister Rodríguez whom I already had the chance of meeting officially at the CELAC summit. After meeting president Castro, I had a very interesting meeting with key intellectuals, musicians, film makers, people that live and make the cultural life so relevant and important also for the European scene. I forgot to mention how the visit kicked off last night. I met all the...
Working for a good deal with Iran

Working for a good deal with Iran

We had useful meeting today with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the European External Action Service in Brussels. I was joined by the foreign ministers from all three European countries that are involved in the nuclear talks: Philip Hammond, Laurent Fabius and Frank Walter Steinmeier. We’ve got to the final stage of the negotiation, and we need one last sprint. E3/EU+3 Political Directors will continue talking with Iran later this week. EU Political Director Helga Schmid will join the US-Iran bilateral talks as of tomorrow. E3/EU+3 Political Directors will meet on Wednesday in Lausanne. We had never been this close to a deal. And I do not mean just any deal: we will not settle for anything less than a good deal, one that guarantees the international community on the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. It can be a win-win solution, one that addresses everyone’s concerns. But we need to push hard for this to happen. It may sound pretentious, but we are really facing a historical opportunity. We hold a responsibility not to waste it....
In Sharm el Sheikh, with the mind to Libya

In Sharm el Sheikh, with the mind to Libya

The Egyptian government invited me to the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el Sheikh, an important recognition of the role the EU can play for the countries future, as its largest trading partner and first foreign investor. The trip to Sharm was also a great opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al Sisi, with His Majesty the King of Jordan Abdullah II, and with UAE foreign minister sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayahan. One issue above all: Libya. I repeated to all my interlocutors there is no military solution to the crisis in Libya. There is no other solution than supporting the formation of a national unity government. We are ready to support every step towards this aim, and we are working in close coordination with the UN special envoy Bernardino Leon. But it is up to the Libyan factions – and to their regional sponsors – to take the first step in the right direction....
At the UN Security Council

At the UN Security Council

My first time at the UN Security Council, on invitation of the French presidency. This session’s focus was on EU cooperation with the United Nations, and I decided to stress my personal belief – which I know it is shared by most Europeans – that the only possibile world order, today, is based on multilateralism. I will paste some paragraphs from the introduction and the conclusions of the speech, the full text is here. Europe’s commitment to multilateralism – with the UN at its core – stems from our values and beliefs. But it is also an act of realism. The threats we face have never been so complex, as you very rightly said Mr Secretary General. They require complex, articulated responses. The time when super-powers thought they could split the world into spheres of influence is long gone – we should all realise that. The number of regional and global actors has multiplied. And none of them can realistically aspire at facing challenges, or truly benefiting from opportunities, alone. We need cooperation, more than ever. The new global order will be multilateral, or it will not be. (…) Our Union, the European Union, is built on the same values, the same vision of a cooperative world order which led to the foundation of the United Nations, seventy years ago. In seventy years, the threats to peace have evolved continuously. So must we. Our tools need to be updated to the new challenges. But our hopes and aspirations – to save the next generations from war, to fight for democracy and human rights, to promote social progress – are still the same....