From the Far East to New York

From the Far East to New York

I write after a week when I travelled to the Far East and then to the United States. First stop in Japan, for Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony, together with the representatives of 190 countries and international organisations. It was also an opportunity to meet with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Taro Kono: Japan is one of our closest partner, and we are strengthening even further our cooperation on security as well as on connectivity between Europe and the Far East. I also met with a group of civil society representatives and academics, and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, to thank him for his contribution to achieving the new partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan. Press release here. I then travelled to China, where I met with Prime Minister Li Keqiang to discuss – among other things – how to better regulate our economic and trade relations. With Foreign Minister Wang Yi we talked about our common work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, and about the situation in Afghanistan, Korea, Syria and Venezuela. In Beijing I also met with a group of civil society representatives. Press release here. Final stop in New York: I spoke at the annual meeting of the International Crisis Group’s board – a non-governmental organisation that shares our same approach to conflict resolution in most of the current crises, from Syria to Venezuela. In New York I also met with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the ambassadors of EU countries to the United Nations. This coming week I will be in Brussels, for the conference we have organised...
Two important decisions, one historic mistake

Two important decisions, one historic mistake

I write after a difficult European Council: the heads of State and government have postponed the decision to open negotiations for Albania’s and North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union, in spite of the extraordinary progress achieved by both countries and against the European Commission’s advice. It is much more than a lost opportunity: it is a historic mistake, which I hope can be amended as soon as possible. The Council has also taken two important decisions: it approved the new agreement with London on the UK’s exit from the European Union; and it confirmed the decisions we had adopted on Monday with the Foreign Ministers on Turkey’s military intervention in Syria. Our response to Ankara’s attack against Syrian Kurds has been strong and united. Not only have we condemned the invasion: we have also decided that Member States will stop selling arms to Turkey – each of them respecting their national legislations – and we have adopted economic sanctions to respond to Turkey’s activities off the cost of Cyprus. Here is the press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, and here is what I told journalists at the beginning of the day. Last week, at the European Parliament, I had already clarified another point: if Turkey decided to transfer hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in a so-called “safe zone” in north-east Syria, to replace the local population, we would never give our financial support to such operation. Here is my speech in the Parliament. On the day when the US withdrawal from north-east Syria was announced I was in Jordan, where I met King Abdullah, Crown Prince...