From the State of the Union, to the UN General Assembly

From the State of the Union, to the UN General Assembly

I write on my way to New York, for the UN General Assembly’s Ministerial week, and after an important session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Important both for the issues we worked on with the Members of Parliament, and for President Juncker’s State of the Union speech.

It was a powerful and bold speech, touching upon the main foreign policy issues which the European Union continues to be engaged on: our work towards a European Union of security and defence; the Western Balkans’ path towards the EU; our leadership in the fight against climate change and for a free and fair international trade; our investment in Africa’s development.

On many of these issues I worked during my three days at the European Parliament. On Tuesday I was on the floor of the House to discuss migration: I talked about the work we are doing and the results we are starting to achieve – in particular to save human lives, to foster growth in Africa and to improve the living conditions of migrants along the route, in Libya and in the Sahel (here is my speech and my reply to parliamentarians).

In Strasbourg we also worked on North Korea, in a week marked by yet another provocation by Pyongyang (here is my statement on the latest launch of a ballistic missile) and after the new Resolution approved unanimously by the UN Security Council, imposing new economic sanctions on Pyongyang. In Strasbourg, again, I saw the unity of our European Union on our decision to raise pressure on North Korea and to try and restart a credible dialogue towards the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Here is my speech at the European Parliament, and my Q&A with the Members of Parliament).

I also discussed North Korea – as well as the Balkans and our relationship with the United States – in my phone call on Thursday with US Vice-President Mike Pence: we decided to keep working together with as much coordination as possible, and to meet again in the coming days in New York.

On Thursday, in Strasbourg, we also dealt with some serious cases of human rights’ violations, starting with the difficult situation of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar. Here is my speech on Myanmar, here on Cambodia, Laos and Gabon.

My week had begun in Tallinn, at the meeting of EU Development Ministers: we mostly worked on the launch of the European External Investment Plan, supporting private investments for sustainable development in the most fragile areas of Africa and our region.

In the coming days, the United Nations’ General Assembly will be the opportunity to continue our work on the main international dossiers: from Syria – where it is essential to accompany the work on de-escalation zones with a UN-led political process – to Venezuela – to suppor a possible regional mediation to end the crisis. But New York will be first and foremost, for us Europeans, a place to restate that the issues of our world can only be addressed together, through multilateralism and international cooperation.