An important meeting of the European Commission

An important meeting of the European Commission

I write after an important meeting of the College of European Commissioners. In just over a month we will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Rome Treaties, the first step of our community towards a European Union. Remembering and celebrating the past – sixty years of peace for us, thanks to our Union – is not enough: it must also be the opportunity to look at Europe’s present and future, and how to change our Union so to renew and preserve the most successful process of regional integration in human history. The European Commission will present a White Book on the future of Europe: a reflection on the Union’s successes – as a guardian of peace, democracy and economic growth inside our borders – but also on the reforms we need as we face a new and different world. And in the world, our Union is an indispensable point of reference for peace, multilateralism, development, rights, free and fair trade. In the College we also talked about Italy, and the work the government is doing to relaunch the economy. I discussed it yesterday with Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan: the path taken is the right one, it is now necessary to keep strengthening growth and containing the debt. The dialogue continues, not only to reduce the public debt, with full support and encouragement to keep up and speed up reforms – which are already helping restart the Italian economy. Last Monday, we discussed Europe’s role in the world with the US Vice-President Mike Pence, too. His official visit to the European Union was significant – both for its symbolism and for the intense and...

Federica Mogherini meets with US Vice-President Mike Pence

This morning, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini welcomed the Vice-President of the United States of America Mike Pence as he started his official visit to the European Union. The meeting follows on from High Representative’s contacts with Vice President Pence in the last months, and with the  new US administration – namely Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence James Mattis – both during her visit to Washington on 9-10 February and last week in Europe. High Representative Mogherini and Vice-President Pence discussed the importance of a strong partnership between the European Union and the United States, which is essential for both sides of the Atlantic. In an open and warm conversation, HRVP Mogherini reaffirmed a strong willingness of the EU to continue building a strong EU-US partnership on the basis of clear values and interests, and cooperating closely on bilateral as well as international issues. On the latter, they had an in depth exchange on the common priorities, from Syria to Ukraine, from Libya to the Middle East, from Afghanistan to DPRK. As chairperson of the Joint commission, HRVP Mogherini stressed the need to preserve and fully implement the Iran deal. HRVP Mogherini and VP Pence also shared views on how to deepen and strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism, in particular in the context of the anti-Daesh coalition. HRVP Mogherini will also join the meeting of Vice President Pence with the President of the European Commission Jean Claude...
A strong, reliable, indispensable partner

A strong, reliable, indispensable partner

I write after a week that was particularly dense with meetings. It started in Brussels, for the NATO ministerial, then Bonn for the G20, and Munich for the Security Conference. The message I gathered, in all the bilateral meetings I had, is that the world looks at the European Union as a strong, reliable, cooperative and indispensable partner. A much stronger one than we usually realise. And an even more indispensable partner in dangerous and confused times, when rules are too often perceived as a constraint for some, not as a guarantee for all. The European Union is a point of reference when talking about peace, multilateralism, development, rights, free and fair trade. But also when talking about security – for our military and civilian missions around the world, and for cooperation with NATO. And more. It would be an illusion to believe that the challenges ahead of us can be faced with military force only. So the European Union invests in development, in the promotion of human rights, in education, in policies against climate change. We invest in strong societies, not in strong men: it is much more effective to bring real stability. This is not “philanthropy,” these are not just high-minded sentiments: it is a rational investment in our own security. This is what I told the Munich Security Conference, yesterday morning. Inequalities create instability and frailty – this is what we discussed at the G20 in Bonn. In the past, we could talk about what we could do “for” Africa; today, we must understand what we can do together, “with” Africa. We are partners for peace and security, for democracy and rights, for sustainable development,...