I write at the end of a week when the European Union confirmed its role as a strong and reliable partner, in a moment of global confusion. We know who our friends and partners are, we know the European people’s interests, we believe in the power of multilateral diplomacy and dialogue: I spoke about this at the beginning of the Foreign Affairs Council last Monday in Brussels, here is the video.
The work done this week demonstrates very clearly the European Union’s global role. From diplomacy to security and trade.
We signed the largest ever free trade agreement in history, to strengthen our economy thanks to free and fair trade with Japan. We reconfirmed our cooperation with China in an important Summit. At the beginning of August I will be in Asia-Pacific to meet our regional partners, with a special focus on the situation in Korea.
Last Monday and Tuesday we welcomed to Brussels the Foreign Ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean, for a European Union-CELAC ministerial meeting. We share interests and values with them: in this confused moment in the history of the world, we know we stand on the same side – the side of a more inclusive economic growth, multilateralism, international cooperation, the fight against climate change, and the promotion of human rights. Here is my speech opening the meeting, here the press conference and the final communique, here the award ceremony for some civil society organisations, here the meetings with the Pacific Alliance and the group of Caribbean countries, here my statement on the situation in Nicaragua.
On Wednesday I gathered again in Brussels the delegations of Serbia and Kosovo, led by Presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, for our dialogue towards a normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina: a difficult but realistic task. We will meet again in the coming weeks. Press release here, and here is the proposal we put forward, as the European Commission, to open visa-free travels to the European Union for Kosovars.
The European Union is a force for peace, in our continent and in our region. This week we hosted an international conference for Somalia, in a moment of hope for the country and for the entire Horn of Africa: for this reason, we increased our support to the Somali government and the African Union, to accompany the Somalis’ hope for peace. Here are my speech and the press conference.
Last Monday I updated the European Union’s Foreign Ministers on my visit to Libya last weekend. In the last years, the European Union has not only supported the UN-led political process, but also projects for reconciliation among local communities, for security, for border management and for welcoming migrants.
To support such commitment, on Monday I proposed Foreign Ministers to accelerate the revision of Operation Sophia’s tasks, starting immediately instead of waiting until September. Sophia is the naval operation we launched in 2015 to stop human smugglers in Central Mediterranean. Our goal is now to include in the mission’s tasks the monitoring from Tripoli of the work of the Libyan Coastguards we train – so to make them more effective in saving human lives and to verify the full respect of human rights. We also want to include the fight against oil trafficking. The proposal to accelerate the review was discussed during the week by the EU Member States’ representatives, and it was endorsed by all of them.
Here is the press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council, where we also discussed the difficult situation in Gaza and in the the entire Holy Land, our Eastern partnership, and our support to the the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.