I write at the end of a week dedicated mostly to cooperation with our Asian partners, to Venezuela, and the Western Balkans’ path towards the European Union.
Last weekend I was in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue – one of the major conferences in the world on security and defence. Today Europe’s and Asia’s security are linked: just think of the situation in Afghanistan, at trade routes in the Indian Ocean, or at our common need to prevent nuclear proliferation. This is why in these years we have strengthened ever more our cooperation with Asian partners.
In Singapore I took part in a public debate on the situation in Korea, together with the Defence Ministers of the Republic of Korea and Japan (here is the video). It was also the opportunity to meet several important partners: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan; but also the Defence Ministers of China Wei Fenghe, of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo, of Vietnam Ngô Xuân Lịch, of New Zealand Ron Mark, and of Australia Linda Reynolds. Press release here. And here is my interview on Channel News Asia.
From Singapore to New York, for a meeting between the International Contact Group we have created on Venezuela, and the representatives of the Lima Group. This is part of the Contact Group’s outreach to the main international interlocutors, to support a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela. Here is our joint statement, and here a press release on the meeting.
Back to Brussels, I celebrated with a lot of American and European friends the anniversary of D-Day and our continent’s liberation from nazi-fascism, and the US Independence Day. The celebrations were the opportunity to meet with the US President’s advisor on the Middle East, Jared Kushner. On Wednesday I also met for the first time the new President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, on a visit to EU institutions. Press release here.
During the week I hosted North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Albania’s Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj: last week, as European Commission, we confirmed once again that both North Macedonia and Albania are ready to start negotiations to access the European Union. Here is my press conference on enlargement with my colleague Johannes Hahn.
This week I also met with the Director of the International Organisation for Migration António Vitorino, the Red Cross’ President Peter Maurer, and the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad.