Another step forward for European defence

Another step forward for European defence

I write after a week spent between Brussels and the Gulf. Last Monday I chaired the monthly meeting of European Foreign Ministers, which was the opportunity to host the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok: his country has chosen democracy and we – as the European Union – are trying to give our full support to this transition, from a political and economic point of view (press release here).

We then dealt with the situation in Afghanistan after the presidential election, with the situation in the Gulf and the nuclear deal with Iran, and we discussed the latest developments in Bolivia. Press conference here. And this is our statement from last Monday on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran, together with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK.

We also discussed the situation in Bolivia on Wednesday at the European Parliament’s plenary session, here is the debate. And here are the debates on Turkey’s drilling activities off the Cypriot coast and on the situation in Chile.

Last Tuesday I chaired the meeting of the Union’s Defence Ministers. Together we hosted NATO’s deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană to discuss EU-NATO cooperation, before we moved to two other issues. We approved thirteen new projects in the framework of our Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence, spanning from common trainings to missile defence. And we worked on our European military and civilian missions, to guarantee that they always have the necessary resources – we focused in particular on key areas such as the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. There were also some positive steps forward regarding Operation Sophia’s future. Here is the press conference.

Last week I also met with the Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, press release here.

Over the weekend I was in the United Arab Emirates for the Sir Bani Was Forum, a meeting with ministers and experts to discuss foreign policy and security in our common region.