I write coming back from Strasbourg, after the last European Parliament’s plenary session before next month’s election. We dealt with some of the most urgent crises in our region – particularly those in Libya and in Sudan, but also the situation in the Golan Heights and in the West Bank. On Tuesday I presented our new strategy for the partnership between Europe and Latin America, after years when our relations have been more intense than ever. And on Thursday we worked on the human rights’ situation in China, in Brunei and in Cameroon.
But this plenary was also the opportunity to thank the Members of the European Parliament after five years of common work and to take stock – of our successes and our difficulties, with some lessons learnt for the future. Here is the discussion on our legacy that I had with the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees.
The week before was dedicated mostly to the new military escalation in Libya, in touch with Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj and the UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame. We discussed Libya at length on Monday 8th in Luxembourg, with the Foreign Ministers of the European Union. All of us shared the same preoccupation for the consequences that the civilian population is suffering because of the offensive launched by General Khalifa Haftar and his troops. We also appealed to foreign actors to stop interfering, and to the parties to halt the fighting, accept the humanitarian ceasefire proposed by the UN and restart the UN-led dialogue. This is the message we sent both at the Foreign Affairs Council (press conference here) and again on Thursday 11th in our EU Declaration. It is also what I discussed with our international and regional partner, including with China during my bilateral meeting on Tuesday 9th with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
In Luxembourg we also discussed other crises that we Europeans are trying to address. For instance, Venezuela: the meeting in Luzembourg was the opportunity to discuss the work of the International Contact Group that we have set up (more details here). And Afghanistan: the Foreign Ministers endorsed my five-point plan to accompany the peace negotiations.
With the Ministers we also discussed the achievements and the challenges to tackle with our Eastern Partners, ten years after the launch of the Eastern Partnership.
Last week was an important week not only for Europe’s international role, but for its future. On Tuesday 9th, with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, we hosted the summit between the European Union and China – here is our joint statement. In the margins of the summit I hosted Foreign Minister Wang Yi, with whom I discussed our cooperation on all the most delicate files, from Afghanistan to Iran, from Venezuela to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
On Wednesday 10th, then, I took part in the special European Council on the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union: this is what I told journalists before the meeting.
I concluded last week in Stockholm, for a meeting on the situation of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees – the UNRWA. With the other regional and international partners who are more closely involved, we confirmed that UNRWA has a strategic role to play – to guarantee education and basic services to five million Palestinians, but also for regional security – and our shared determination to keep supporting its work.