From South-East Asia to Africa, for peace in Mozambique

From South-East Asia to Africa, for peace in Mozambique

I write at the end of a ten-day trip that led me to South-East Asia and Mozambique, for the signature of a peace agreement ending decades of war. On August 1st I arrived to Thailand, to take part – for the fifth time in five years – to the meeting between the European Union and the organisation of South-East Asian countries (ASEAN) and to the Regional Forum organised by ASEAN. In these five years the European Union and ASEAN have cooperated more intensely than ever before – on our common security, on the great global crises, on free and fair trade, on climate change. Here are my remarks at the meeting between EU and ASEAN. ASEAN’s Regional Forum was the opportunity to meet partners from all around the world: on top of the Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, I met with the Foreign Minister of Indonesia Retno Marsudi, U Kyaw Tin of Myanmar, Prak Sokhonn of Cambodia, Wang Yi of China, Taro Kono of Japan, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar of India, Kang Kyung-wha of the Republic of Korea, Winston Peters of New Zealand, and Chrystia Freeland of Canada. From Thailand to Vietnam. With Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, we concluded two agreements for Vietnam’s participation in our civilian and military missions and for cooperation on peacekeeping – here is the press conference. In Hanoi I also met the Parliament’s Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and a group of students from the Erasmus Mundus programme – who are Europe’s best ambassadors in the world (video here). Then to Mozambique, for a...
From Africa to the Gulf. Then the new European Parliament’s first plenary

From Africa to the Gulf. Then the new European Parliament’s first plenary

I write after two weeks in Africa, the Gulf and in Strasbourg, for the first plenary of the new European Parliament. After my trip to Central Asia and the summit in Ukraine two weeks ago, I arrived in Burkina Faso for the fifth annual meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the five Sahel countries. These countries want to be stronger and more autonomous: it is our European interest to help build a stronger and more stable Sahel, so we will continue to support them both on economic development and on security issues. In Burkina I announced an extra 138 million euros in support to the G5 Sahel Joint military force – here is the press conference. The meeting with the G5 was also the opportunity for a bilateral visit to Burkina: there I met with President Roch Marc Kabore, Prime Minister Christophe Dabire and Foreign Minister Alpha Barry. But I also visited the French-Arab school El Bayane, which is financed by the European Union – because good education for children is the foundation of any strong country. From Burkina to Mali. On top of my meetings with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the government and Foreign Minister Tiébilé Dramé, I visited the central region of the country, where security is particularly fragile. There I met a group of local leaders and civil society representatives. It is up to the Malians to build a new era in the history of their country – an era of national dialogue and fight against terrorist – but we Europeans are ready to support them with all means at our disposal. Here is my press conference in Mali....
From the Western Balkans Summit to Central Asia, from Ukraine to the Sahel

From the Western Balkans Summit to Central Asia, from Ukraine to the Sahel

I write as I arrive in Burkina Faso and the Sahel, where I will meet our regional partners. Until this morning I was in Kyiv, Ukraine, for the 21st summit between the European Union and Ukraine – the first since the election of Volodymyr Zelensky, and the sign of a uniquely close partnership. We discussed the reforms that the Ukrainian citizens are asking to their government, but also the situation in the east of the country, in Crimea and in the Sea of Azov, on top of trade and energy security. Here is our joint statement. Last Friday I was in Poznan, Poland, for the summit with our six partners in the Western Balkans: the whole region’s integration inside the European Union is first and foremost our own interest, and cooperation among the “Western Balkans Six” is essential to facilitate their path towards the European Union. Here is my interview in Poznan with Radio Free Europe, and here is our press release. Over the weekend I was once again in Central Asia: in these years, we have built ever stronger ties with this region. In Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, I announced the opening of an EU embassy to the country – the fifth in the five countries of Central Asia. Here is my press conference with Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and my statement to the local press. Then off to Bishkek, in Kyrgyzstan, for the ministerial meeting between the European Union and Central Asia. These five countries see Europe as an essential point of reference and are asking us to get more and more engaged in Central Asia. I spoke about it in the press...
Two important results on Mercosur and Iran

Two important results on Mercosur and Iran

I write at the end of a week when we achieved two very important results. On Friday, after years of negotiations, we reached a trade agreement with the Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is good news for European firms, but the deal goes well beyond trade: it protects workers’ rights and the environment, it creates political dialogue and multilateral cooperation. Europe and Latin America are closer than ever. This week I had discussed the deal with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, during his visit to Brussels – press release here. On Friday we also gave an important announcement on the defence of the nucleare deal with Iran: the instrument to support legitimate trade exchanges with Iran (called INSTEX) has become operational and is processing the first transactions. Together with the three countries that set it up – France, Germany and the UK – another seven European countries will join the mechanism. On Friday we also gathered the Joint Commission that works to guarantee the deal’s implementation: press release here. Over the week we worked a lot on European defence: on Monday I was at the European Defence Agency (here is my speech), and on Wednesday I joined the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting. Transatlantic cooperation was also at the core of my conversation at the annual Brussels Forum organised by the German Marshall Fund – here is the video. On Friday I also met with the US Envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey, and I spoke to the UN Envoy Geir Pedersen. This week I met some important partners for the EU. On Thursday I chaired the Association...
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...