Among so many difficulties, small signs of hope

Among so many difficulties, small signs of hope

It has been an intense and challenging week here in Brussels. The week kicked off with the Foreign Affairs Council on Syria on Monday morning, and with some good news: Bosnia and Herzegovina has presented its application for membership in our European Union. A few weeks after the beginning of my mandate, we decided to relaunch a blocked process: after one year of great engagement with all of Bosnia’s government levels, we have reached an important first result. There is still so much work to do, but it is such good news for the Bosnian youth who dream to turn their history of war into a future of European peace. And it is good news for the whole Balkans and for the whole of us: in a moment of deep difficulties for our Union, this story tells us how attractive and precious our integration is.

On Monday evening I welcomed Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, on his first first bilateral visit to the European institutions. We worked on relaunching bilateral relations between Europe and Iran after the deal on their nuclear programme, but we also discussed perspectives for the region and forms of cooperation which might improve these perspectives. Just yesterday 114 trucks of humanitarian aid reached five besieged areas of Syria, thanks to the deal we reached last week in Munich. It is a little big sign of hope, one that encourages us to keep on our difficult work towards a cessation of hostilities and to restart the negotiations in Geneva.

We discussed about this in yesterday’s and today’s European Council, which is still going on and is mostly dedicated to the referendum in the UK and to our common response to the refugee crisis. Even among these days’ difficulties, Member States renewed their commitment to work together and to avoid unilateral approaches: there are no national solutions to a global issue such as migration, and it is time for decisions already taken by the twenty-eight to translate into concrete action.