I write on my way back from Jordan – a country that, in difficult times for the Middle East, is always a point of reference for its wisdom, its balance, and its capacity to mediate. For this reason, the European Union will continue to do all it can to support Jordan.
With King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi we discussed the tensions in Israel and Palestine, the war in Syria, but also our cooperation to strengthen the Jordanian economy and support the communities that have welcomed millions of Syrian refugees through the years. In the last three years we have financed projects worth a billion euros in the fields of education, water, energy, and in support of business. Yesterday I announced an extra 20 million euros to address the needs of Jordanians who are particularly vulnerable, and we are ready to unblock the second 100-million tranche of our macro-financial assistance. Here is the press conference with Safadi.
The European Union’s support is crucial also to help entire generations of Syrians and Jordanians, who will soon be called to play their part for the future of their countries. Yesterday I met 145 of these young Syrians and Jordanians, who graduated at the German Jordanian University in Madaba thanks to the European Union’s economic support. This is also an investment in our own future, as we all share the same region. Here is my speech at the graduation ceremony.
This is the logic that shapes the European Union’s relationship with Africa, too. At the European Development Days in Brussels, last week, I met with the current chair of the African Union, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, with the President of Angola João Lourenço, the President of Burkina Faso Roch Kaboré, the South African Minister of Small Business Development, but also with Kristalina Georgieva, the World Bank’s CEO. Here is the video of a nice conversation I had with Youssou N’Dour and a group of young people from Africa, Asia and Europe, on the young generations’ role in promoting women empowerment in our societies.
We share the same region, so we share the same destiny: this is the idea that makes our relations with the Balkans so close and intense. Last Monday I met with the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic (press release here), and last Thursday with Skopje’s Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani to keep accompanying the negotiations between Athens and Skopje.
While we work with our international partners, we also keep making our Union stronger and safer within our borders. For instance investing in better mobility for our military assets within the EU (I talked about it at a European Defence Agency’s Symposium last Wednesday). This is also what we discussed at the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting last Friday, during a session on cooperation with the European Union – here is what I told journalists before joining the meeting.
One final point, on our work in the digital domain – a space filled with opportunities but also with some potential threats. We had the idea, together with a group of leaders from tech companies and civil society, to explore new possibilities for cooperation between tech and diplomacy – for instance on artificial intelligence, on cyber-security and on sustainable development. This is what we discussed in our first “Global Tech Panel”, which I hosted in Brussels last Wednesday.