A historic day for the Balkans and for Europe

A historic day for the Balkans and for Europe

I write on my way back from Lake Prespa, on the border between Greece and the “Republic of North Macedonia” – as it will now be called – where I took part in the signing of a historic deal between Athens and Skopje.

This deal on the “name issue” is a message of hope and peace not just for the two countries involved, but for all the Balkans and for our entire continent. It shows that diplomacy and dialogue can solve even the most difficult issues, when supported by courage and determination. This is what I said today at Lake Prespa, here is my statement on the agreement, and this is what I said on Tuesday at the European Parliament in announcing the deal.

The deal between Athens and Skopje is not the only piece of good news of the week. The summit in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un demonstrates that the crises of our times can only be dealt with through diplomacy and dialogue. This is what I said on Tuesday at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, at the beginning of a debate on our work to salvage the deal with Iran – here is the video, here my statement on North Korea.

And yesterday, in Afghanistan, the first ceasefire between the government and the Taliban entered into force – a sign of hope in a country at war for decades. Here is my statement.

In Strasbourg we also presented, as European Commission, our proposal for the next budget of the European Union. For the first time ever, we want the budget to deal with security and defence – investing in the European defence industry and in security across our region, which is essential to the security of European citizens (here I explain the proposal).

We also proposed to increase by 30 per cent the budget for our foreign policy: to address the great issues European citizens care about – from migration to peace in our region – we need to work outside our borders, investing more and better than before. Here is the press conference with all details, and from the same press conferences, my reaction to the story of the Aquarius ship and the proposal to triple our funds to deal with migration.

On Friday I was in Rome, to receive the “Marisa Bellisario” prize for women in public life, but also to meet the new Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi and Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta.

Two other important things from this week. At the European Parliament I also discussed our cooperation with Georgia, ten years after the war in Abkhazia and South Ossetia (video). On Thursday I met with Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive – press release here.​