After the G20 in Japan

After the G20 in Japan

I write after coming back from Japan, where I took part in the meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers in Nagoya. We discussed how to guarantee that global trade remains free but also that it can have fairer rules, how to support a more sustainable development model, and the great global economies’ partnership with Africa. My visit to Japan was also the opportunity for a meeting on how to promote women’s and young people’s participation in peace processes: only with their engagement, can peace have deep roots in their societies. Here is my speech. A few days before, in Brussels, I had met a group of Kenyan women who took part in the first edition of “Ms President” – a tv show that had huge success in Kenya and East Africa, financed by the European Union: the show has given to some very talented women the possibility to enter politics and become a role-model for girls and women like them. Here is the meeting’s video. Still in Brussels, I also took part in the meeting of Chiefs of Defence from all EU Member States, to discuss the progress we have made in these years towards a Europe of defence, and in the meeting of intelligence services’ chiefs. During the week the Council has also approved a new European civilian mission to the Central African Republic – a mission that we have decided to organise on request by local authorities and the United Nations. Press release here. In these days we have also kept following closely the situation in Syria, Yemen, Libya, in Israel, in Iran and in Nicaragua. And today I chaired...
Another step forward for European defence

Another step forward for European defence

I write after a week spent between Brussels and the Gulf. Last Monday I chaired the monthly meeting of European Foreign Ministers, which was the opportunity to host the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok: his country has chosen democracy and we – as the European Union – are trying to give our full support to this transition, from a political and economic point of view (press release here). We then dealt with the situation in Afghanistan after the presidential election, with the situation in the Gulf and the nuclear deal with Iran, and we discussed the latest developments in Bolivia. Press conference here. And this is our statement from last Monday on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran, together with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK. We also discussed the situation in Bolivia on Wednesday at the European Parliament’s plenary session, here is the debate. And here are the debates on Turkey’s drilling activities off the Cypriot coast and on the situation in Chile. Last Tuesday I chaired the meeting of the Union’s Defence Ministers. Together we hosted NATO’s deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană to discuss EU-NATO cooperation, before we moved to two other issues. We approved thirteen new projects in the framework of our Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence, spanning from common trainings to missile defence. And we worked on our European military and civilian missions, to guarantee that they always have the necessary resources – we focused in particular on key areas such as the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. There were also some positive steps forward regarding Operation Sophia’s future. Here is the press...
Solidarity for Venezuelans and for those who welcome them

Solidarity for Venezuelans and for those who welcome them

I write at the end of a week that has been mostly dedicated to the situation in Venezuela. On Monday and Tuesday we hosted in Brussels an International Solidarity Conference for those who fled Venezuela and their host communities. We welcomed 120 delegations – national governments, international organisations and civil society – which pledged 120 million euros in support. This adds to 320 million euros already mobilised by the European Union since 2016. And this is only the beginning of a new solidarity path, which will continue in the coming months with more conferences like this. Here is my opening speech, here is the final press conference. And here is the statement by the International Contact Group on Venezuela, to call on the Venezuelan actors to return to a path that can lead towards a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis. Last Tuesday, I also gathered in Brussels the leaders of our six partners in the Western Balkans. Postponing the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia on their accession to the European Union was a historic mistake (I wrote about it here). And yet, on Tuesday we all agreed that we must keep working to realise the Western Balkans’ EU prospective. Press release here. Here is my statement on the inaugural meeting of the Committee that should write the new Syrian...
From the Far East to New York

From the Far East to New York

I write after a week when I travelled to the Far East and then to the United States. First stop in Japan, for Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony, together with the representatives of 190 countries and international organisations. It was also an opportunity to meet with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Taro Kono: Japan is one of our closest partner, and we are strengthening even further our cooperation on security as well as on connectivity between Europe and the Far East. I also met with a group of civil society representatives and academics, and former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, to thank him for his contribution to achieving the new partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan. Press release here. I then travelled to China, where I met with Prime Minister Li Keqiang to discuss – among other things – how to better regulate our economic and trade relations. With Foreign Minister Wang Yi we talked about our common work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, and about the situation in Afghanistan, Korea, Syria and Venezuela. In Beijing I also met with a group of civil society representatives. Press release here. Final stop in New York: I spoke at the annual meeting of the International Crisis Group’s board – a non-governmental organisation that shares our same approach to conflict resolution in most of the current crises, from Syria to Venezuela. In New York I also met with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the ambassadors of EU countries to the United Nations. This coming week I will be in Brussels, for the conference we have organised...
Two important decisions, one historic mistake

Two important decisions, one historic mistake

I write after a difficult European Council: the heads of State and government have postponed the decision to open negotiations for Albania’s and North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union, in spite of the extraordinary progress achieved by both countries and against the European Commission’s advice. It is much more than a lost opportunity: it is a historic mistake, which I hope can be amended as soon as possible. The Council has also taken two important decisions: it approved the new agreement with London on the UK’s exit from the European Union; and it confirmed the decisions we had adopted on Monday with the Foreign Ministers on Turkey’s military intervention in Syria. Our response to Ankara’s attack against Syrian Kurds has been strong and united. Not only have we condemned the invasion: we have also decided that Member States will stop selling arms to Turkey – each of them respecting their national legislations – and we have adopted economic sanctions to respond to Turkey’s activities off the cost of Cyprus. Here is the press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, and here is what I told journalists at the beginning of the day. Last week, at the European Parliament, I had already clarified another point: if Turkey decided to transfer hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in a so-called “safe zone” in north-east Syria, to replace the local population, we would never give our financial support to such operation. Here is my speech in the Parliament. On the day when the US withdrawal from north-east Syria was announced I was in Jordan, where I met King Abdullah, Crown Prince...
A new start with Moldova

A new start with Moldova

I write at the end of a week that I dedicated mostly to Moldova, but also to a first look back at these five years of work. On Monday I chaired the Association Council with Moldova in Brussels, together with Prime Minister Maia Sandu – press conference here. Over the last months, the Moldovan government has launched an ambitious reform process, and we – as the European Union – have decided to give our full support to this new phase. To confirm this new beginning in our relationship, on Thursday I travelled to Chisinau where I met the Prime Minister but also President Igor Dodon and Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu. Here is the press conference in Chisinau. On Friday, back in Brussels, I was at the annual conference of the EU Institute for Security Studies: it was the occasion to look back at these five years of work, particularly at our commitment to protect the multilateral system and the progress on European defence. Here is my speech. On Friday I also spoke with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, to discuss Turkey’s activities off the island’s shores. Press release...