I write at the end of a week when we confirmed and strengthened the founding principles of our European foreign policy: cooperation and multilateralism, dialogue and the search for solutions that make us and our partners more stable, more secure and stronger economically.
Over the last few days we have worked a lot with Africa: our cooperation is now closer than ever, and it serves both our interests and theirs. Last Tuesday I met in Brussels with the President of the Gambia, Adama Barrow, and his government: we have collected more than a billion euros from the international community, to support a country that has managed to move peacefully out of an authoritarian regime. Here is my speech at the conference, here the press release.
Last Wednesday, together with the whole European Commission we met with the African Union’s Commission. With the commissioners and President Moussa Faki – whom I also met at length bilaterally – we decided to push forward our cooperation on security, on economic development, on a sustainable management of migration flows, and on crucial international issues such as the deal with Iran. Here is our statement.
The nuclear deal remains central to our daily work: we keep working to preserve it, in the European Union and with our international partners. Dismantling a deal that is working would not at all strengthen our security – the contrary is true.
This week the International Atomic Energy Agency has certified for the twelfth time that Iran is respecting all its nuclear commitments. Last Friday, in Vienna, the European Union chaired a new meeting of the Joint Commission on the deal, where we all confirmed our determination to preserve the agreement (statement here). I also spoke about the deal at the European Business Summit (here is the video), and we will keep working on it with the European Union’s Foreign Ministers tomorrow, at the Foreign Affairs Council.
Iran – as well as the de-nuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula – will also be at the core of the Europe-China dialogue next week. The only way to prevent a nuclear arms race is to invest in international agreements and in international monitoring mechanisms. This is also what I said – focusing on Iran and North Korea – in my message to the meeting of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organisation.
Every day we face complex challenges: our response, to be effective, has to be as shared and global as possible. This is why we invest so much in the United Nations. Last Thursday I met with the UN Under-Secretary General Vladimir Voronkov, and we decided to strengthen our cooperation on counter-terrorism – more details here. With UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore we discussed our common work to help children, particularly in conflict zones: UNICEF is the UN Agency that receives more funds from the European Union (statement here).
This week has also been important for some countries we care particularly about. Countries like Venezuela, which will be on the agenda of our Foreign Affairs Council tomorrow (here is my statement on behalf of the European Union regarding the election). Or like Ukraine, after the results of the inquiry on the downing of flight MH17: I discussed them with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, whom I welcomed to Brussels again (here is the press release on his visit, here is my declaration on behalf of the 28 EU States on the MH17 inquiry).
Tonight I hosted Skopje’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, to keep supporting the difficult but crucial negotiations with Athens to solve the name issue. Here is the press release.
And finally, I should say something about two great meetings I had during the week: the first was with a group of young people from the Mediterranean, Africa and Europe. I listened to their ideas and recommendations on how to build peace and security, as we work to put in practice some of their projects.
The second meeting was with the directors of 24 NGOs that work with us on conflict prevention and mediation. This is how you build peace and security: with constant commitment and with the work – invisible, at times – by citizens who know that preventing or solving a conflict is the best investment in our shared security.