I write at the end of a week I have spent mostly in the Horn of Africa. It is a crucial area for our region’s and Europe’s stability – just think that 20 per cent of European trade with the world goes through the Strait of Aden. It is also a region that is living a moment of great change: on the one hand, the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the transition in Sudan; on the other, the growing rivalry among regional powers, which are competing also for the control of the Horn of Africa’s ports and waters.
I begun my visit in Mogadishu, Somalia. I met first with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and Foreign Minister Ahmed Issa Awad (here is what I told journalists after the meetings). Then I visited the headquarters of the two European missions in Somalia, which are training the Somali security forces: it is a vital contribution to the security of the Somali people and of the region, but also to Europe’s security.
From Somalia to Kenya, one of the African continent’s economic engines and a crucial partner for Europe and the United Nations. There I met with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Foreign Minister Monica Juma (press conference here) and Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i. In Nairobi I also inaugurated the new European Union’s embassy, the largest in Africa and the second in the world (here is my speech), and I met a group of young people and civil society representatives (video).
Final stop in Djibuti, the strategic hub connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. I met with President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Yousouf (here is the press conference). I also visited our naval Operation Atalanta, which in the last ten years has freed from pirates the waters off the Horn of Africa. Here is my speech aboard the Italian frigate Carlo Margottini.
Back to Brussels, on Friday I welcomed Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez: we discussed our bilateral relations after the historic agreement we signed almost three years ago, but also US sanctions and the situation in Venezuela. Press release here.
Now I am in Italy to vote for the Democratic Party in the European election: it is a central moment for our Union, because Europe is what we make of it – including with our vote.