At work to save the nuclear deal with Iran

At work to save the nuclear deal with Iran

I write at the end of a week at work to save the nuclear deal with Iran. We discussed it last Monday in Luxembourg with the Foreign Ministers of the European Union, stressing that the deal must be preserved and inviting all parties to avoid new escalations (press conference here). The day after, I was in Washington DC, where Iran was at the centre of my talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And next Friday we will gather once again the Joint Commission that oversees the deal’s implementation – which is chaired by the European Union and composed of China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and Iran. Press release here. In Washington, with Pompeo, we also talked about the Balkans, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Libya, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia. I also met with Jared Kushner, the President’s advisor on the Middle East, to discuss the situation in Israel and Palestine. Press release here. On Monday, at the Foreign and Defence Ministers’ meeting, I presented a report on the work done in the last three years to turn into action our Global Strategy on foreign and security policy. We confronted our proposals from three years ago with the results achieved – which in some fields have exceeded expectations, for instance on European defence, while in other areas there is still a lot to do. Here is the report, and here the new Council Conclusions to push the work on defence forward. At the Council we also dealt with the situation in Sudan and Moldova. Then with the Foreign Ministers with met Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman al Safadi. Jordan is one of our closest partners...
The Western Balkans’ future in the European Union

The Western Balkans’ future in the European Union

I write at the end of a week spent in Brussels and Rome, mostly at work with partners from our closest neighbours. At the beginning of the week I met with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and the new President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski (press release here). It is time for both Albania and North Macedonia to start accession negotiations with the European Union – and we, as the European Commission, have asked the governments of the EU to give their green light as soon as possible. On Thursday I hosted Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, one year after the Partnership Agreement that the European Union signed with Armenia. We discussed the ongoing reforms, and how the European Union can keep supporting and accompanying them. Here is the press conference and the joint communique. On Friday I was in the Vatican to meet the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Secretary for relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. This is a dialogue we started three years ago, to try and contribute together to solving some of the worst crises of our age, from Venezuela to Syria. Press release here. Over the week I also spoke on the phone with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj, press release here. And here is my statement on the situation in...
A partner for Asia’s security, and for peace and democracy in Venezuela

A partner for Asia’s security, and for peace and democracy in Venezuela

I write at the end of a week dedicated mostly to cooperation with our Asian partners, to Venezuela, and the Western Balkans’ path towards the European Union. Last weekend I was in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue – one of the major conferences in the world on security and defence. Today Europe’s and Asia’s security are linked: just think of the situation in Afghanistan, at trade routes in the Indian Ocean, or at our common need to prevent nuclear proliferation. This is why in these years we have strengthened ever more our cooperation with Asian partners. In Singapore I took part in a public debate on the situation in Korea, together with the Defence Ministers of the Republic of Korea and Japan (here is the video). It was also the opportunity to meet several important partners: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan; but also the Defence Ministers of China Wei Fenghe, of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo, of Vietnam Ngô Xuân Lịch, of New Zealand Ron Mark, and of Australia Linda Reynolds. Press release here. And here is my interview on Channel News Asia. From Singapore to New York, for a meeting between the International Contact Group we have created on Venezuela, and the representatives of the Lima Group. This is part of the Contact Group’s outreach to the main international interlocutors, to support a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela. Here is our joint statement, and here a press release on the meeting. Back to Brussels, I celebrated with a lot of American and European friends the anniversary of D-Day and our continent’s liberation from nazi-fascism,...
Back from the Horn of Africa. Now in Italy to vote

Back from the Horn of Africa. Now in Italy to vote

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...
In Brussels, a point of reference for our partners

In Brussels, a point of reference for our partners

I write at the end of a week when we have welcomed tens of ministers to Brussels, representing many of our closest partners. We started on Monday with Libya, in a meeting with Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj and a session of our Foreign Affairs Council together with the UN Special Envoy for Libya, Ghassam Salame: we discussed how to stop the fighting in the country and relaunch the UN-led political negotiations. Here is what I told journalists on Monday morning, here is the press release on my meeting with Serraj, and here is the statement with the 28 EU Member States. Libya was also one of the issues we discussed with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the five Sahel countries – Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso – in a joint meeting on Tuesday with the European Union’s Foreign and Defence Ministers. We talked about how to strengthen the G5 Sahel joint military force, which is playing a crucial role in contrasting terrorism and organised crime in the region. Here is Tuesday’s press conference, where I talk about the Sahel. In the margins of the meeting, I met bilaterally with the ministers of all five countries. On Monday we also received a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I had called for a meeting on the same day with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK, to confirm our support to the nuclear deal with Iran: together we spelled out again the need to avoid an escalation of tensions and violence in the Gulf. Here is Monday’s press conference on Iran and Pompeo’s visit....
At work on Venezuela, Iran and the future of Europe

At work on Venezuela, Iran and the future of Europe

I write at the end of a week that I spent in Latin America and the Balkans, at work on Venezuela and the future of Europe, but also on the nuclear deal with Iran. On Monday and Tuesday I was in Costa Rica, for the meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela. In a incredibly delicate moment for the country, marked by new violence, we confirmed that the only possible way out of the crisis is a peaceful and democratic solution. In our second day of work we welcomed the representatives on the Caribbean Community (Caricom), of Chile and the Holy See: we will continue to work with the rest of the international community to help restart a political process in the country. This is my speech opening the meeting, and here is the press conference.  During the week , together with the Contact Group, we also reacted to the arrest of Edgar Zambrano, vice-president of Venezuela’s National Assembly: here is our statement. The visit to Costa Rice was the opportunity to meet with President Carlos Alvarado Quesada and Foreign Minister Manuel Ventura Robles. From Costa Rica to Albania, for the summit of the Brdo-Brijuni process – the Balkan regional forum organised by Croatia and Slovenia. On top of bilateral meetings with our Albanian guests – Prime Minister Edi Rama and President Ilir Meta – I also met with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci, and with the Chairman of Bosnia’s Presidency Milorad Dodik. Here is the press conference with Edi Rama: I repeated that it is time to open negotiations for Albania’s accession to the European Union....