Remarks by Federica Mogherini at the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me start by thanking Azerbaijan for hosting this very important meeting, and President Aliyev and the participating countries for attending. The value which we in the EU attach to this initiative of the Southern Gas Corridor is evident: both Maroš and I are here to take part in this meeting. The Southern Gas Corridor is an essential element in the EU’s Energy Security Strategy, and energy diplomacy is a fundamental part of our work on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. For the first time last July I chaired a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers where we adopted a set of conclusions and an Action Plan on energy diplomacy, in cooperation with Maroš, a result of a more coordinated work on external action. We agreed that the EU’s foreign policy should give particular priority to those partners and initiatives which are crucial to further diversify our energy sources. The Southern Gas Corridor and the Caspian region are clearly part of our key priorities. So I come here with a well-defined mandate: we strongly support the Southern Gas Corridor, and we are determined – and me personally – to do our part to ensure that it is completed on time. The Southern Gas Corridor is more than energy diversification and EU energy security for us. It is also about enlarging and deepening political, economic and social ties with a number of partners in a wider region that can contribute to its implementation: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Albania, of course the EU Members States linked directly with it – Greece, Italy and Bulgaria – and hopefully others from...
“Unity in diversity,” a common challenge for Europe and South Africa

“Unity in diversity,” a common challenge for Europe and South Africa

I am now travelling from Johannesburg to Pretoria, in a land which inevitably brings to my generation’s mind the memory and example of Nelson Mandela. Today I chaired the European Union-South Africa ministerial dialogue, three years after its last meeting, together with Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. South Africa is the only “strategic partner” of the EU in the African continent: our cooperation spans from economy to research, to global issue such as climate change and the sustainable development goals. It has solid roots and is based on a long-lasting friendship, but it has become even more important today, in a momento of instability in different parts of the world. We share the same values, starting from the centrality of human rights and of the fight against inequalities. But we also share the same difficulties, which often run in parallel, for instance on youth unemployment and fair opportunities. We share the need to foster and preserve the “unity in diversity” of our societies, fighting all kinds of racism and discrimination. In fact, it has been only twenty years since South Africa emerged from the most hateful of racial segregation regimes. The last twenty years’ achievements must be cemented and cannot be taken for granted. I saw this with my eyes in Soweto, my first stop in South Africa: I visited the neighbourhood with Antoinette, the sister of Hector Pieterson who was killed in 1976 during the first revolt against apartheid.  Together we toured the museum that has been dedicated to Hector, who was 13 when he died. He wasn’t a hero but he became one – Antoinette told me – and he hasn’t died in vain. 40 years on, his...
Mozambique needs reconciliation to unleash its huge potential

Mozambique needs reconciliation to unleash its huge potential

I write on my way from Maputo to Johannesburg after two days in Mozambique, where I could experience the many faces of a country full of resources, including economic ones. A country which risks to go back to a past it has never completely dealt with. This is what I discussed with President Filipe Nyusi, with Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, with the leaders of opposition parties Renamo and MDM, with some European investors, with representatives of the country’s civil society and with European NGOs working in Maputo, as I visited an EU-financed project and a centre run by the Sant’Egidio Community. Mozambique is perceived – in Africa and in Europe – as an example of national reconciliation, built through a difficult peace process bringing a decades-long civil war to an end. Still, “war” is a word I have heard too many times over these days’ meetings: it scares not just the local population, worn out by drought and floods, but all those who would like to invest in a country with great resources and with a huge potential for its future. This will only be possible if the political and security situation allows for it. It is indispensable to recreate a reconciliation dynamic, to make the process inclusive, to make it deliver for the population: this has been my message to all my interlocutors. Our European Union is ready to support such process. We are not pretending to teach them how to do it: that is up to the representatives of political parties in Mozambique, only they can find and define solutions towards peace. But we are well aware of the danger these wonderful people might face, if the risk of...