I write after a week marked mostly by the crisis in Venezuela. We discussed it at length with the European Union’s Foreign Ministers during our informal meeting in Bucharest, during the Romanian Presidency of the EU, which followed the informal meeting of Defence Ministers.
In Bucharest we announced the creation of an international contact group for Venezuela, which will include European and Latin-American countries, to seek a peaceful and democratic way out of the crisis. Our goal is to bring together the efforts of different countries that can contribute to a peaceful solution, towards new elections that should be held as soon as possible. Here is the press conference where I talk about it, and here is the announcement of the contact group’s first meeting, next Thursday in Uruguay.
We have been working for quite a while on the European Union’s contribution to solving the crisis. Last Tuesday I discussed it with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (press release here), and in my Brussels’ meetings with the Foreign Ministers of two countries that will be part of the contact group – José Valencia of Ecuador and Diego Pary of Bolivia.
Then, on Thursday, Germany, France and the United Kingdom announced the creation of a mechanism to let European firms continue their trade with Iran, as foreseen by the nuclear deal – which we want to preserve, as a pillar of our security. We – as the European Union – will accompany the work of the countries that set up this mechanism. Here is my statement.
In the days we spent in Bucharest – hosted by Romania, which is holding the rotating presidency of the European Union – we also discussed our security and defence policy. With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the UN’s Under-Secretary General Jean-Pierre Lacroix we discussed our cooperation, with a focus on women’s essential role for peace and security.
With the Defence Ministers we talked about the great steps forward we have taken on our common defence: thanks to this work, Europe is more and more a global point of reference on peace and security. These steps include Operation Sophia, which has a fundamental role for our collective security in the Mediterranean. Here is the press conference on defence issues.
With the Foreign Ministers we also discussed our Eastern Partnership, celebrating its tenth anniversary, and we talked about our relations with China together with the EU candidate countries. Here is what I told journalists before the Foreign Ministers meeting, and the final press conference.
My week had started with a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of EU countries that are also members of the UN Security Council: coordination at the EU level and cooperation among Europeans at the UN are stronger than ever – because we share the same interests and values, and because we realise that in this day and age we have a responsibility to support multilateralism as effectively as we can. Here is the press conference after the meeting.
And on Tuesday I met with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina – press release here.