One year after the British referendum: a stronger European Union

One year after the British referendum: a stronger European Union

I write after a week spent in Brussels and Luxembourg: it has been exactly one year since the referendum on Brexit – which, according to many, should have marked the beginning of the end for the European Union.

Not only this was not the case: today, the European Union is stronger. We have understood what we could have lost – sixty years of peace and rights – and beyond that, we have understood that the only way to “take back control” in a globalised world is together: only as Europeans can we regain sovereignty, only together can we protect and promote our interests and values.

And together we have found a way to relaunch our Union. On European defence, for instance, we have achieved more in one year than in the previous decade. At the European Council last Thursday the 28 EU countries have taken historic decisions: I talked about them before the Council, here is the video.

The steps forward we have taken are part of the Global Strategy for foreign and security policy I presented one year ago. Last Monday I put out the first annual report on the Strategy’s implementation: here is the video on the main results, here my foreword to the report, here is my speech at the EU Institute for Security Studies’ annual conference.

Talking about security: on Monday, at the Council of Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, we adopted a set of counter-terrorism measures. Among other decisions, we agreed to expand the network of counter-terrorism experts working in the EU Delegations to third countries. I explain these decisions in this article, written together with the Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King. And here is the press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council.

Security is a field where cooperation with our African partners is particularly intense. Partners like Kenya: here is the press release on my meeting with Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed. And partners like Mali, where the European Union has a military mission to train local security forces. Last Sunday, a Portuguese sergeant working for our mission was killed in a terrorist attack in Bamako: although he was far away from home, he was working for the security of all Europeans. To his family and the Portuguese authorities go the condolences and the gratitude of the whole European Union.

Back to Europe, last week I met in Brussels the rotating Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mladen Ivanić. Last Monday we also met with our six partner countries in Eastern Europe – Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – to prepare the summit we will hold in Brussels this coming November. Here is what I told journalists after the meeting.

Finally our work on the Middle East and North Africa, starting with the crisis in the Gulf: I discussed it with the European Foreign Ministers on Monday, and on Tuesday I met with the Emirati deputy Foreign Minister, Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash.

And on Libya: I met again with Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj, in the margins of a conference on migration at the European Parliament (here is my speech, in Italian, here the press conference after the meeting).