Back from Jordan. Practical steps on European defence and development

Back from Jordan. Practical steps on European defence and development

I write as I come back from Jordan, where I took part in the World Economic Forum for the Middle East – an opportunity to meet with many important partners for our work in the region and beyond: from the King of Jordan Abdullah to Spain’s King Felipe; from Chemi Peres, of the Peres Centre for Peace, to Tzipi Livni; from Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou; from William Lacy Swing of the International Organisation for Migration to the Red Cross’ Peter Maurer​. At the Forum I also discussed the future of Europe and of Syria, and I talked to journalists about Hassan Rouhani’s re-election in Iran – important news for the entire region.

The Middle East was also the focus of the European Parliament’s plenary, last week in Strasbourg. Here is my speech on Syria and the discussion with Members of Parliament. And here is my address on the situation of Christians in the Middle East, and the debate that followed (in Italian). Here is my commentary on the beautiful and important speech by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the EP plenary, on on our European Union’s relevance to the world.

But last week was important also for the work we did with the Ministers of the 28 Member States, particularly on our common defence and on development policies.

Between last Monday and Thursday, with the Foreign and Defence Ministers, we took another step towards a European Union of security and defence. With three concrete decisions. First: we agreed how the Permanent Structured Cooperation will practically work, for those countries that will decide to better spend their resources, investing in common projects with other EU countries. Second: we gave our political green-light to the creation in Brussels of the first single command centre for our military training and advisory missions. Third: we pushed forward the work to make our rapid reaction force, the Battlegroups, finally deployable. Here is my doorstep before the Defence Council and the press conference after it (my intro and the Q&A with journalists).

We also worked a lot on our development policies, particularly those with our African partners. Last Monday, at the Foreign Affairs Council, we hosted Moussa Faki, the Chairman of the African Union’s Commission: here is our joint press point, here the press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council. On Friday I chaired the Development Ministers, to approve the new EU Consensus on Development. Here is my doorstep before the Council, and the meetings with the United Nations’ Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, and the Minister for Malians abroad Abderrahmane Sylla.

One last important thing. On Friday I welcomed to Brussels Cho Yoon-je, the Special Envoy to the European Union appointed by South Korea’s new President, Moon Jae-in. It is the first time that the Republic of Korea sends a Special Envoy to the European institutions: it is an important sign of our role for security in Asia, and in particular, of the contribution we can bring to addressing tensions with North Korea and to de-nuclearise the Korean peninsula. Here is the press release.