Text of my speech at the at the Frankfurt Book Fair Opening Ceremony

Check against delivery – video here Good evening and thank you. If you allow me, I will address you as friends. You cannot imagine the emotion I feel by addressing you all tonight. I would like to thank you for the invitation: it is a special honour for me to open this seventieth edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair. I want to be very sincere – I am always, but tonight I will put an additional element of “personal touch” in what I will share with you. My first thought, when I received this invitation, has been: “What an honour!” But immediately afterwards, the second thought that came to my mind was: “Why me?” There are two reasons that are self-evident. The first one is that wherever Georgia is a guest of honour that is the right place for the European Union to be. And the second one is that wherever human rights are celebrated, promoted, protected, that is the right place for the EU to be. And we will continue to be there on the same page, which is this wonderful page we have together produced 70 years ago. Then I started also to reflect on what connects the work of the person that is called to shape, serve and represent the Common European Foreign and Security Policy, with books. What connects my private life with this event is more than clear to me personally: since the age of six, I think there has not been even one single day of my life when I was not reading a book. The single thing that is never, never missing...

Speech at the Rome II Ministerial Meeting to support the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces

Check against delivery Lebanon’s resilience is a daily miracle in today’s Middle Eastern chaos. The Lebanese people have shown incredible resilience in the face of the Syrian war next door. The Lebanese leaders have reacted with unity to the political crisis unfolding at the end of last year. And the Lebanese Armed Forces have not only guarded Lebanon’s stability, security and sovereignty in difficult times, they have also represented a symbol of national unity. This Rome II Conference today is part of a coherent, comprehensive international work. I remember when I chaired the first conference to support the Lebanese Armed Forces, here, in this very same room, in 2014. This year, this is the first of three events where the international community renews its support to Lebanon, its institutions, and its resilience. Together with CEDRE in Paris and the second Brussels Conference on Supporting the future of Syria and the region, it is a demonstration of our common commitment to this incredible country that is Lebanon. We, the European Union, have always been on the side of Lebanon and the Lebanese security forces. Since 2006, the EU has invested more than 85 million euros across the entire security sector. Our Member States are contributing to UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) with thousands of troops – and let me thank in particular Italy for their commitment and for hosting today’s conference. We now want to support the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces to the South of Lebanon, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The European Union is ready to work with the rest of the...

Speech at the Ministerial Conference on UNRWA

Check against delivery We are here in Rome to send two strong messages. Firstly, that the work of UNRWA is important and must be preserved. Second, to support this work concretely. We care, because it is a moral duty but also a self-interest. The situation in the Middle East is extremely volatile and we can’t afford even greater destabilisation. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is taking care of millions of people. Preserving and supporting UNRWA is not just a matter of humanity. It is also our strategic interest, for the sake of peace and security in the Middle East, and our own security. UNRWA is of crucial importance for at least three reasons: for the future of all Palestine refugees, for the viability of the two-state solution, for stability and security in the region. First: a sudden stop of UNRWA’s services in all fields of operation, not least in Gaza, would be incredibly dangerous. More than seven hundred schools would likely not open anymore after the summer break, and hospitals would be much less operational. Palestine refugees would probably lose their hope for the future. And when people lose hope, they often become an easy target for the propaganda of terrorist groups. Second: UNRWA is essential for Palestinian State building, and for the very perspective of a two-state solution. There can be no State without schools, hospitals and vocational training. Moreover, a just, agreed and realistic solution to the refugee question is one of the key elements for peace. And the two-state solution is still the only viable path towards...

Speech at the Hessian Peace Prize award ceremony

Check against delivery I would like to start by thanking you, Mr President [Mr Norbert Kartmann, President of the Hessian Parliament], Madam Minister [Ms Lucia Puttrich, Minister of European and Federal Affairs of the State of Hessen], all of you for your kind words, but most of all for this honour. I am also very thankful that you have come to Brussels for this ceremony – as you have highlighted this is the first time that this happens and I am very much aware of the fact that it does is not only a courtesy to myself, which I appreciate, but I know that this is first and foremost a tribute to the European Union, as you said Madam Minister, as a force for peace in our very difficult times. Two years after the deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] was signed, we see and we breathe a very different atmosphere in global affairs and in these days receiving this prize is quite significant. It is not always easy to find or to build the same spirit of collective responsibility that made the Iran deal possible. The work to achieve win-win solutions requires patience, perseverance, as you said, sometimes even stubbornness and a lot, a lot of strength. Many are tempted in these times to seek unilateral action, shortcut. Everyone seems to want to show their strength, instead of showing their wisdom. As if they were not the same. As if wisdom was not the biggest strength you can show, the most difficult to achieve, the most difficult to preserve and also the most difficult to share....

Discours au Comité de Suivi de l’Accord de Paix au Mali

Seul le discours prononcé fait foi Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Haut Représentant, chers amis, Je voudrais d’abord en mon nom personnel, en celui de ma délégation et de l’Union européenne, souhaiter un Ramadan Karim à toutes et tous. Je suis ravie d’être ici avec vous, les acteurs clé de la paix au Mali. Et c’est un honneur pour moi de vous porter le message de l’Union Européenne : un message de soutien, et un message de responsabilité. La renaissance du Mali est possible, si nous tous travaillons, ensemble, pour un nouvel élan de paix. Ce pays est une terre de traditions anciennes et de grande vitalité culturelle. Jusqu’à peu, les trésors de Tombouctou attiraient des visiteurs du monde entier. La guerre civile et le terrorisme sont des fardeaux qui ont ralenti le Mali, et imposé d’énormes souffrances à tous les Maliens. Nous savons aussi que l’instabilité régionale a eu un impact négatif sur les événements au Mali. L’idéologie des terroristes n’a rien à voir avec les traditions culturelles et religieuses de ce pays. Ils ont aussi détruit “matériellement” ces traditions et vos trésors – un crime contre le peuple du Mali mais aussi contre un patrimoine de toute l’humanité. Pour faire face à la menace terroriste, la communauté internationale s’est engagée fermement aux côtés du peuple et des institutions du Mali. Les attaques de ces derniers jours sont une nouvelle tentative de créer des divisions parmi nous: notre réponse ne peut qu’être une unité renouvellée. Dans quelques instants, je vais annoncer un soutien encore plus important de l’Union européenne au processus de paix au Mali. Mais d’abord, permettez-moi...

Speech at Tsinghua University: “Europe and Asia. Building a Cooperative Global Order”

Check against delivery Together with the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, we celebrate the 30 years of a programme, Erasmus, that has guaranteed youth exchanges and student exchanges, including between Europe and China. I was looking at the numbers now – and then I’ll come to topic I promise – but, nearly 3000 students and professors have been selected to move between Europe and China in last couple of years thanks to this programme. So, we also have a framework for practical cooperation and not only for the very relevant and very useful exchanges at this level. So, coming to the topic of our exchange today. First of all I would like to thank you for this opportunity to meet. For me, every time I visit a country and every time I visit China – now it’s my third time in this capacity [as EU High Representative/Commission Vice-President] – I meet with students, with young people like you, also to listen to you and I always learn a lot. I always get great ideas, aspirations and hope – and we really need some hope in tough times like ours. We all have the impression to live in times of global disorder, when instability seems to spread from one corner of the world to the other. If you take the conflict in Syria: events in the Middle East can destabilise the whole world. We are all concerned and we all have a responsibility to work for peace and reconciliation there. And in the same way, if we look at this part of the world, everyone understands that a...