At work on Palestine and Israel, Venezuela, and the Balkans

At work on Palestine and Israel, Venezuela, and the Balkans

I write at the end of a week spent working mostly with the Balkans and on security in our region, but also on the crisis in Venezuela. The only way out of the Venezuelan crisis is a pacific and democratic solution: I repeated this together with the entire European Union (here is my declaration on behalf of the Twenty-Eight) and with the International Contact Group that we have created and we are gathering tomorrow in Costa Rica (press release here).

My week started in Berlin, at the summit organised by France and Germany on the Balkans’ future. It was mainly an opportunity to meet – together and bilaterally – the leaders of all six our Balkan partners: Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, the President of Montenegro Milo Đukanovic, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the Prime Ministers of Albania Edi Rama and of Bosnia Denis Zvizdic.

Then on Tuesday, together with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide, we gathered in Brussels the group of international donors for Palestine (the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee). We discussed how to overcome the current financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority and preserve the two-state solution, for peace and security in the Middle East. Here is the press conference, and here is my statement on the new Gaza escalation.

For us, Europeans, this is also about security in our region. The same is true for the nuclear deal with Iran: for three years, it has contributed to avoiding a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and also for this reason it must be saved. Here is my statement with France, Germany and the United Kingdom on the US sanctions. And here is my statement on Turkey’s activities in Cyprus’ waters.

Last week, instead, we welcomed to Brussels Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for the summit between the European Union and Japan. Here is our joint statement.

Finally, yesterday the European institutions opened their doors to the public, just like every year on the occasion of Europe Day. At the European External Action Service, I met tens of people wanting not just to celebrate, but to get involved. This is a way to remind to the whole of us that Europe is not just a bunch of buildings in Brussels: Europe is everyone of us, Europe is what we make of it.