Back from the G7 in France

Back from the G7 in France

I write after coming back from Dinard, in France, where we held the annual meeting of the G7 Foreign Ministers. We dealt with the major international crises – Libya, first and foremost, calling for an end to the clashes and for the implementation of the action plan put forward by the United Nations. Then Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Venezuela. The Israeli-Palesestinian conflict. Our relations with Iran. And more: we discussed how to fight inequalities – including between men and women, – how to support African peace operations, the role of women in peace processes, how to regulate States’ behaviours in cyber-space and to contrast disinformation, how to tackle together the issue of foreign terrorist fighters going back to their countries. Here are the communiques. The meeting was also an opportunity to meet one-on-one with the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, and Japan, Taro Kono – two countries that share completely our support for multilateralism. My week had started in Brussels meeting a group of women mediators, who work to end conflicts in different parts of the world. Then at the headquarters of the European External Action Service, to inaugurate an exhibition on the European Satellite Centre’s work: together, we Europeans have some of the most advanced satellite systems in the world, which no Member State could afford alone. These technologies are essential for our security, for reacting to natural disasters, and for supporting our global partners. Last Wednesday I was at the Brussels Conference on food security – because food crises and desertification are already causing wars and tensions, and investing in a truly sustainable development is crucial for our...
One week, four continents

One week, four continents

I spent last week in four continents – travelling from Afghanistan to Latin America and back to Tunis and Brussels. I worked on areas of the world – near and far – that are a source of concern, but where we also see glimmers of hope: Central Asia, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Libya and the Middle East. Central Asia was at the core of my talks with Pakistani leader, last Monday in Islamabad. The occasion for the trip was the “strategic dialogue” between the European Union and Pakistan, an essential country for Asia’s security. With President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shad Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa we talked about our bilateral relations, but also – and most extensively – about regional peace and security: we discussed at length what Europe and Pakistan can do to accompany peace negotiations in Afghanistan (press release here), and the recent tensions between India and Pakistan. And more: after the terrorist attack against the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand, we agreed on the need for common work to stop the rise of Islamophobia. At the same time, we must work together against radicalisation and all forms of terrorism. Here is the press conference with Qureshi. Together with a group of Pakistani women from civil society organisations, I also discussed the crucial role of women and society in stabilisation and human growth. From Islamabad to Kabul, to support the perspective of peace through a political process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. It is an essential moment to end the war in Afghanistan – after President Ashraf...
The European Union and China: a principled and pragmatic dialogue

The European Union and China: a principled and pragmatic dialogue

I write at the end of a full week in Brussels, at work with the Union’s Foreign Ministers, with the heads of government at the European Council, and with some important partners. We started the week with Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China – first for the EU-China Strategic Dialogue, then for a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Twenty-Eight. It is the first time that a Chinese Foreign Minister meets with all his EU counterparts. This is the sign of how close our relationship is: China is a global power that we have some substantial disagreements with, it is at times a competitor, but it is also an essential partner cooperating with us on many issues that are crucial for global peace and security – from Iran to Korea. For this reason, we need a dialogue that is principled and pragmatic at the same time. Here is the press conference with Wang Yi. I also discussed China with the EU heads of government, at the European Council on Thursday and Friday – this is what I told journalists ahead of the meeting. The Council was marked mostly by an important decision on the future of the United Kingdom – more details here. In the margins of the summit, I met with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to agree on our support to Mozambique, which has just been hit by a devastating cyclone – our press point is here. As always, I took part in the pre-summit with Socialist leaders: this time, it was an opportunity to meet with the Italian Democratic Party’s new leader, Nicola Zingaretti, for the...
Why I am proud of the third Brussels Conference on the future of Syria

Why I am proud of the third Brussels Conference on the future of Syria

I write after a week spent in the United States and in Brussels, for the third Conference on Syria. I am proud of three things. First of all, this year the Conference revolved around the many Syrian women and men working in civil society – who came together, in spite of their differences, with 500 NGOs engaged every day on the ground. We offered them a safe space to meet and to exchange ideas, and we brought their voice to the table of decision makers: because Syria belongs to Syrians, and the only way to end the conflict is to help them – together with the United Nations – build a democratic, inclusive, united and reconciled Syria. Here are my meetings with civil society and the women who are taking part in the negotiations, here is the press conference with the UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen. And here is my speech that opened the ministerial meeting, after we had listened together to the story of an incredible young woman from Syria, Asmaa. Second, in a moment when Syria risks to be “forgotten” and when divisions still run deep within the international community, we mobilised 8o countries and international organisations to support the political process led by the United Nations – our only hope to end the war. From Russia to the US, from Iran to Turkey, we tried to build some common ground to help the United Nations relaunch the negotiations in Geneva. Finally, we managed to gather an extraordinary amount of resources – more than six billion euros for 2019 only – in support of Syrians and their host communities, particularly in...
In the United States – at work on artificial intelligence and the role of women in society

In the United States – at work on artificial intelligence and the role of women in society

I write from the United States – where on Saturday, in Seattle, we gathered once again our “Global tech Panel”, thanks to the hospitality of Brad Smith from Microsoft. During the meeting we discussed how to regulate the military use of artificial intelligence: on this issue and others, cooperation between politicians and tech experts is crucial. In the margins of the meeting I also had the pleasure to meet Melinda Gates. Today I am in New York for some meetings at the United Nations, then at Princeton University in New Jersey. All details here. Before leaving I met with the President of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcé. I spent the rest of last week in Brussels, where on Tuesday I chaired the Association Council with Georgia, together with Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze: press conference here. I held several meetings with close partners and neighbours of the European Union: with Central-African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, with Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, with the Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite Presidency Milorad Dodik, with Algeria’s Minister of State Ramtane Lamamra. It was also a week of work on the role of women in society. Here is the video on Thursday’s discussion at the European parliament, and here is my message on the International Women’s Day. In the coming days I will meet a group of extraordinary women: the Syrian and Yemeni women who are working to seek a solution for the conflicts in their countries. I will see them in New York, then we will host them at the third Brussels Conference on Syria. The future of the Middle East was also at...
Arab League, Lebanon, Jordan: at work with our Middle Eastern partners

Arab League, Lebanon, Jordan: at work with our Middle Eastern partners

I write at the end of a week when I have mostly worked with our partners in the Middle East. The week started in Egypt, last Sunday, with the first Summit between the European Union and the Arab League: here is what I told journalists before the Summit, and here is my speech. In Egypt I also had the chance to meet bilaterally with the Foreign Ministers of Jordan, Ayman Safadi, and of Tunisia, Khemais Jhinaoui. From Egypt to Lebanon, possibly the most “European” Arab country and one of our closest partners in the region. In Beirut I met with President Michel Aoun, the Parliament’s President Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Interior Minister Raya El Hassan (press release here). With Prime Minister Hariri we inaugurated the new European Embassy in Beirut – a sign of ever closer and stronger ties between Europe and Lebanon. Here is my speech at the ceremony. Then on Thursday I was at the London Initiative on Jordan: a country of immense potential, in economic terms and for its human capital, with a leadership who managed to remain wise and rational through these difficult years. In London I also met with Jordan Prime Minister Omar Razzaz. Here is what I said during the conference. On Wednesday I was at the European Parliament in Brussels, for the opening of the World Congress against the Death Penalty: we Europeans believe in justice, not revenge, and we continue to work for the abolition of the capital punishment worldwide – together with civil society and engaging with the countries that still resort to it....