Fostering hope in Syria (and more, on Turkey and Argentina)

Fostering hope in Syria (and more, on Turkey and Argentina)

I write from Buenos Aires, where I just landed for the first visit ever to Argentina of a European Union’s High Representative. I will meet with President Mauricio Macri, my friend the Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, other representatives of the government and of Argentine’s civil society.

I spent the last two days in Brussels and Strasbourg. Yesterday I was in the European Parliament for the plenary session, where I took part in a debate on Syria (here are my opening remarks and my reply to the MEPs’ questions), and for the weekly meeting of the Commissioners’ College.

Last Monday I spent the whole day (and part of the night) at the European Council, right after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu: we discussed how to manage an unprecedented flow of refugees, touching both Turkey and the European Union, together with other countries in the region (next week I will also visit Lebanon and Jordan).

To me, the meeting with the Turkish authorities was also an opportunity to address the need to strengthen the cessation of hostilities and to work for a resumption of negotiations in Geneva. But I also highlighted that Turkey must respect our European standards of the rule of law and fundamental rights, starting with the freedom of the press and of association, and it needs to restart the peace process with the Kurds.

This was also the focus of my meeting with Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of the main opposition party, during the PES summit right before the European Council (in the bottom-right picture above here).