From the Western Balkans Summit to Central Asia, from Ukraine to the Sahel

From the Western Balkans Summit to Central Asia, from Ukraine to the Sahel

I write as I arrive in Burkina Faso and the Sahel, where I will meet our regional partners. Until this morning I was in Kyiv, Ukraine, for the 21st summit between the European Union and Ukraine – the first since the election of Volodymyr Zelensky, and the sign of a uniquely close partnership. We discussed the reforms that the Ukrainian citizens are asking to their government, but also the situation in the east of the country, in Crimea and in the Sea of Azov, on top of trade and energy security. Here is our joint statement.

Last Friday I was in Poznan, Poland, for the summit with our six partners in the Western Balkans: the whole region’s integration inside the European Union is first and foremost our own interest, and cooperation among the “Western Balkans Six” is essential to facilitate their path towards the European Union. Here is my interview in Poznan with Radio Free Europe, and here is our press release.

Over the weekend I was once again in Central Asia: in these years, we have built ever stronger ties with this region. In Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, I announced the opening of an EU embassy to the country – the fifth in the five countries of Central Asia. Here is my press conference with Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and my statement to the local press.

Then off to Bishkek, in Kyrgyzstan, for the ministerial meeting between the European Union and Central Asia. These five countries see Europe as an essential point of reference and are asking us to get more and more engaged in Central Asia. I spoke about it in the press conference with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chingiz Aidarbekov. And here is the joint communique. Before the plenary, I had also met all the Foreign Ministers one by one.

The meeting was the opportunity to organise, for the first time ever, a forum of European and Central Asian civil society representatives, businesspeople and students. Here is my speech closing the Forum. And here is my interview with the local press.

In Kyrgyzstan I also signed a new partnership agreement to strengthen our bilateral cooperation – from reforms to trade, from infrastructure to foreign policy. And I met a group of women from the Parliament, the diplomatic service and the Diplomatic Academy. Here is the video.

Last week started with a long European Council to nominate the new leaders of our Union. My best wishes to all of them – David Sassoli and Charles Michel who have already been elected, Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell who will have to be confirmed by the European Parliament.