I write after an important meeting of the College of European Commissioners. In just over a month we will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Rome Treaties, the first step of our community towards a European Union. Remembering and celebrating the past – sixty years of peace for us, thanks to our Union – is not enough: it must also be the opportunity to look at Europe’s present and future, and how to change our Union so to renew and preserve the most successful process of regional integration in human history. The European Commission will present a White Book on the future of Europe: a reflection on the Union’s successes – as a guardian of peace, democracy and economic growth inside our borders – but also on the reforms we need as we face a new and different world. And in the world, our Union is an indispensable point of reference for peace, multilateralism, development, rights, free and fair trade.
In the College we also talked about Italy, and the work the government is doing to relaunch the economy. I discussed it yesterday with Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan: the path taken is the right one, it is now necessary to keep strengthening growth and containing the debt. The dialogue continues, not only to reduce the public debt, with full support and encouragement to keep up and speed up reforms – which are already helping restart the Italian economy.
Last Monday, we discussed Europe’s role in the world with the US Vice-President Mike Pence, too. His official visit to the European Union was significant – both for its symbolism and for the intense and positive meeting we had, after my previous meetings with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence James Mattis. We discussed how the United States and the European Union can work together, as partners, on bilateral cooperation and on some of the main international dossiers, from Syria to Ukraine, from Libya to the Middle East. Pence delivered a clear message of attentiveness to the European Union and willingness to deepen our cooperation. On our side, the European Union continues to believe in our partnership with the United States, always based on our interests and our values. Here is the press release on our meeting.
Three other things from the last few days. Yesterday I spoke on the phone with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, ahead of President Serž Sargsyan’s visit to Brussels next March, and with the new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo (here is my statement).Yesterday evening I met with the United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Emirates are a crucial partner as we try to build a solution for the deepest crises in the region – in Syria, in Yemen and in Libya. We will continue to work together in the coming weeks, strengthening cooperation among the European Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League.