The great migrations the world is experiencing – the whole world, not just Europe – have been the common thread of this second day at the United Nations. In the morning, in the General Assembly’s hall, the summit on refugees and migrants has kicked off. The aim is to build a global alliance, a global compact to share responsibility. It is a matter of solidarity – and of foresight, because this complex and global phenomenon can only be dealt with through real global partnerships.
It is a principle we are trying hard to pass inside Europe, with too much resistance from too many parts of our continent. The same principle we are also applying in full in our external policies on migration, in particular with Africa and the countries of origin of migrants. We rely on shared responsibilities and cooperation, not simply among countries but with all sectors of our societies. For this reason, the European Union is working to set up new “migration compacts”, packages of measures agreed with five African countries. And for this reason we launched just a few days ago an Investment plan for Africa and the Mediterranean, to mobilise some 44 billion euros – an unprecedented initiative.
I had the opportunity to describe all the European Union is doing during a morning debate with Madeleine Albright, Bono Vox, General John Allen and the Nigerian Environment Minister Amina Mohammed. The debate was organised by the Clinton Foundation in the margins of the UN General Assembly: here is the video of the initiative. Later on, inside the EU Delegation here in New York, we gathered ministers, NGOs, civil society representatives from all around the world to announce our External Investment Plan. And then again at the UN Summit on refugees and migrants (the video is here). The message I sent to all my interlocutors is that the European Union is finally turning vision and words into concrete action. It is time for others to do the same.
The day was also devoted to addressing the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, at the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee together with Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende, US Secretary of State John Kerry, the UN, the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the Israeli government.
It was also an intense day for bilateral meetings, with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam al Ministro and Canada’s Foreign Minister Stephane Dion, theSecretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad bin Amin Madani.
Finally, Syria. In the evening, the EU Foreign Ministers and I discussed – with Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy, and later with the leaders of the Syrian opposition – about the terrible attack on a humanitarian convoy, and about the need for Russia and the United States to make sure that all parts abide by the cessation of hostilities they agreed. Only a truce can guarantee the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, to a population plagued by five years of war and by Daesh. And only a truce can and must clear the way for a true political process, in which the Syrians themselves build up their future. The European Union is already working with them, to guarantee a future of peace and democracy to the country.