Twelve things to bring with us in 2018

Twelve things to bring with us in 2018

This was a difficult year for the world, but just like all other years 2017 also brought us good moments and some good things – things we achieved with a lot of commitment, a lot of energy and some great teamwork. As ever on New Year’ Day, I have tried to list twelve things that I bring with me into the new year, from the year that just ended. Twelve special moments marking my 2017.   Relaunching our Union, starting with defence It was the year when the path towards greater European unity restarted. I have two images in mind. First, the sixtieth anniversary of our Union, on March 25th in Rome: not just a ceremony to celebrate the past, but a practical commitment to relaunch and strengthen the European Union, together (I wrote about it here). We started with the Europe of defence: after months of hard work, last December I announced the launch of a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence. It is a dream of our founders coming true, together with a package of measures including a European Defence Fund and stronger cooperation with NATO (I explained everything at the European Parliament, here). It is a way to be more efficient and autonomous, as Europeans, also in the field of defence. And to become a more reliable point of reference for our global partners.   At work with Africa for migrants One moment to sum up thousands of stories: last November in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, we held the first summit between the European Union and the African Union, with the Prime Ministers of our countries. It was the sign that our partnership has...
Europe and Africa, finally at work together

Europe and Africa, finally at work together

I write after a week dedicated to Africa and the Mediterranean – in Ivory Coast first, then in Rome. I arrived in Abidjan last Monday, for a crucial summit between the European Union and the African Union. The first summit where we truly worked together as equals with our African partners, searching for common answers to our two continent’s problems. For the first time, the summit centred on young people – with their voice and their proposals (here is my meeting with a group of young Europeans and Africans, together with Didier Drogba). And for the first time we tackled Africa’s development not only as a humanitarian issue – but as a shared interest of our continents. We, as European Union, went to Abidjan with the largest program ever for private investment in Africa: this money will target the regions and economic sectors that need it the most, and we will define these regions and sectors together with our African partners. Here is my speech at the Business Forum in Abidjan. We also worked together so that our African partners can take their security into their own hands – and Africa’s security is our own security. Here is my speech opening the ministerial meeting that I chaired at the beginning of the summit. But we also dealt with migration, taking the decision to create a joint task force – European Union, African Union and United Nations – to protect those who are travelling and fleeing through the African continent, particularly in Libya. Here is the press release on my meeting with the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, and...