Back from Libya. An intense week for NATO and the Balkans

Back from Libya. An intense week for NATO and the Balkans

I write after coming back from Libya, where we have just re-established a direct European Union’s presence: we have re-opened our Embassy and our mission to help Libyans control their borders. This is the result of years of common work with the Libyans and the United Nations: we have accompanied negotiations to end the crisis in the country, we have trained the Libyan coastguard through Operation Sophia, we have supported the Libyan people creating jobs and investing in education and healthcare, and we have freed thirty thousand migrants from detention centres in the country. Yesterday in Tripoli I met with Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj and Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala: we discussed the upcoming election and new European projects in the country. I met with the UN Special Representative Ghassan Salame and the representatives of all UN agencies in the capital, but also with our Embassy’s staff, our EUBAM mission, and Libyans who manage projects financed by the European Union. Here is a press release, here my words in front of cameras in Tripoli. This week I also met with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri, the Union for the Mediterranean’s new Secretary General Nasser Kamel, and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah. It was also the week of the NATO Summit in Brussels, where we agreed on the next steps in the common work we are doing for Europe’s security – the EU and NATO together (here is our new EU-NATO Joint Declaration). At the Summit we discussed Afghanistan – and I met again with President Ashraf Ghani, press release here – and our common work against the terrorists...

Some good news from the Balkans

Today I am writing from Toronto, where I arrived for the annual meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers – which this year is hosted by Canada. This coming week will be dedicated mostly to this, to the Conference on the future of Syria we will host in Brussels together with the United Nations, and to the NATO Ministerial meeting. The week that just ended was also particularly intense for me: it started last Sunday in Saudi Arabia, where I had the honour to open the Arab League Summit. From there I travelled to Luxembourg, to chair on Monday an important Foreign Affairs Council dedicated to Syria (here is the text of the conclusions we adopted, here is my speech on Syria at the European Parliament on the following day), to our relations with Russia, to Iran and the Balkans (here are my press points before and after the Council). The day after, in Strasbourg, we adopted as European Commission our annual report on our six partners in the Balkans, and specific recommendations on each of them: this year, we decided to recommend to open negotiations for EU membership with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (here is the report, and here is my press conference in Strasbourg). I decided to bring the news from Strasbourg directly to Tirana and Skopje, to immediately discuss the next steps. My visit to the region continued in Montenegro and in Serbia, the two countries that are already negotiating their membership of the European Union. In Skopje I also met with the Prime Ministers of all six our Balkan partners (press release here). In Albania I met with the President of the Republic, Ilir...