I write from Brussels, in a day when European institutions open their doors to citizens. It is a good way to remind that the European Union belongs to all Europeans – as a protection in the globalised world, a guarantor of rights, an opportunity of peace and economic growth.
Yesterday I was in Florence instead, at the annual “State of the Union” conference organised by the European University Institute. I answered questions from Roula Khalaf from the Financial Times, telling her what all our global partners tell me every day: there is a great need for a strong European Union, an ever more indispensable power in our difficult international environment. Here is the video of the conference.
Over the week I have met many of our partners, here in Brussels, starting with our neighbours in the Mediterranean.
On Tuesday I inaugurated the European Parliament’s Tunisia week, together with President Antonio Tajani and the President of the Tunisian Parliament Mohamed Ennaceur. I said once again that Tunisia is not only a fundamental country for our region’s stability, but also a hope for democracy in tough times. This is also why Tunisia – and its youth people, in particular – can always count on our support. Here is my speech (in French).
During these days we also worked on Libya: yesterday I spoke to Prime Minister Fayez Al Serraj and the Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed, to discuss Serraj’s meeting with Khalifa Haftar. Here is the press release.
On Thursday I chaired the annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of donors for Palestine. Together with the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Russians and the Americans, the United Nations and many others, we worked not only on the humanitarian situation but also to relaunching a peace process between Israel and Palestine. Here is my press conference with Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who co-chairs the meeting.
This week we also worked a lot on the Balkans: on Tuesday I met with Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj, on Wednesday Bosnia’s Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic, on Thursday the newly elected Speaker of the Parliament in Skopje, Talat Xhaferi (here is the press release).
Three more meeting with countries that are much further from us, but where the European Union’s power of attraction is strong: on Wednesday I received Tsend Mnunck-Orgil, Mongolia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the far East to the extreme West, on Thursday I met with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Labour and Interior of Guatemala – Carlos Raúl Morales Moscoso, Aura Leticia Teleguario and Francisco Rivas.
Finally, a country where the European Union is directly engaged in supporting the peace process: on Tuesday I welcomed Myanmar’s State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi. In the last few years Myanmar has taken historic steps towards democracy. The challenges it faces today, though, are incredibly difficult, starting with violence in Rakhine and the integration of all minorities in the country’s democratic life. Here is the press conference with Aung San Suu Kyi – a strong lady, not only a symbol today, but someone with a very difficult responsibility to fulfil, to govern her country.