In Malta, with our African and Libyan partners

In Malta, with our African and Libyan partners

I write on my way to the United States, where I will hold a first series of meetings with the new Administration, starting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. I will write about it in the coming days. Today I would like to write about an important working day with the Maltese Presidency and our Libyan and African partners. The morning started with a meeting to take stock of the work on migration we are doing together – Europe, Africa, international organisations such as the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organisation for Migration (IOM) – after the Valletta summit of November 2015: we are dismantling the traffickers’ networks, saving lives, investing in local development. This work is delivering the first results, and we will keep on this path. Cooperation, partnership, respect: this is the European way to manage migration. In a world that seems obsessed with the illusion of walls, this work becomes ever more important. Here is the video of my speech today in Malta. Cooperation, partnership and respect brought me aboard the San Giorgio ship today: together with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, we delivered diplomas to a first group of Libyan coastguards, who received training from our EU Operation Sophia’s personnel. In one year Operation Sophia has saved over 33,000 people in international waters, arrested over one hundred suspected traffickers, seized 400 vessels. Now, training the Libyan coastguard, we will strengthen our partners’ capabilities to do the same in Libya’s territorial waters and on the coast. Together with the UN agencies, we also put a particular emphasis on human rights. Here is...

Statement on the “Regularisation Law” adopted by the Israeli Knesset

The European Union condemns the recent adoption of the “Regularisation Law” by the Israeli Knesset on 6 February. This law crosses a new and dangerous threshold by legalising under Israeli law the seizure of Palestinian property rights and effectively authorising the confiscation of privately owned Palestinian land in occupied territory. The law may provide for “legalising” numerous settlements and outposts previously considered as illegal even under Israeli law, which would be contrary to previous commitments by Israeli governments and illegal under international law. In passing this new law, the Israeli parliament has legislated on the legal status of land within occupied territory, which is an issue that remains beyond its jurisdiction. Should it be implemented, the law would further entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation and conflict. The EU, also in line with recently adopted UN Security Council resolution 2334, considers Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal under international law and condemns the recent settlement announcements. As identified in the recommendations of the report by the Middle East Quartet, such settlements constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten the viability of a two-state solution. The EU urges the Israeli leadership to refrain from implementing the law and to avoid measures that further raise tensions and endanger the prospects for a peaceful solution to the conflict, so as to reaffirm unequivocally through actions and policy its continued commitment to a two-state solution in order to rebuild mutual trust and create conditions for direct and meaningful...