At work on Venezuela, Iran and the future of Europe

At work on Venezuela, Iran and the future of Europe

I write at the end of a week that I spent in Latin America and the Balkans, at work on Venezuela and the future of Europe, but also on the nuclear deal with Iran. On Monday and Tuesday I was in Costa Rica, for the meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela. In a incredibly delicate moment for the country, marked by new violence, we confirmed that the only possible way out of the crisis is a peaceful and democratic solution. In our second day of work we welcomed the representatives on the Caribbean Community (Caricom), of Chile and the Holy See: we will continue to work with the rest of the international community to help restart a political process in the country. This is my speech opening the meeting, and here is the press conference.  During the week , together with the Contact Group, we also reacted to the arrest of Edgar Zambrano, vice-president of Venezuela’s National Assembly: here is our statement. The visit to Costa Rice was the opportunity to meet with President Carlos Alvarado Quesada and Foreign Minister Manuel Ventura Robles. From Costa Rica to Albania, for the summit of the Brdo-Brijuni process – the Balkan regional forum organised by Croatia and Slovenia. On top of bilateral meetings with our Albanian guests – Prime Minister Edi Rama and President Ilir Meta – I also met with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci, and with the Chairman of Bosnia’s Presidency Milorad Dodik. Here is the press conference with Edi Rama: I repeated that it is time to open negotiations for Albania’s accession to the European Union....
At work on Palestine and Israel, Venezuela, and the Balkans

At work on Palestine and Israel, Venezuela, and the Balkans

I write at the end of a week spent working mostly with the Balkans and on security in our region, but also on the crisis in Venezuela. The only way out of the Venezuelan crisis is a pacific and democratic solution: I repeated this together with the entire European Union (here is my declaration on behalf of the Twenty-Eight) and with the International Contact Group that we have created and we are gathering tomorrow in Costa Rica (press release here). My week started in Berlin, at the summit organised by France and Germany on the Balkans’ future. It was mainly an opportunity to meet – together and bilaterally – the leaders of all six our Balkan partners: Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, the President of Montenegro Milo Đukanovic, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the Prime Ministers of Albania Edi Rama and of Bosnia Denis Zvizdic. Then on Tuesday, together with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide, we gathered in Brussels the group of international donors for Palestine (the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee). We discussed how to overcome the current financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority and preserve the two-state solution, for peace and security in the Middle East. Here is the press conference, and here is my statement on the new Gaza escalation. For us, Europeans, this is also about security in our region. The same is true for the nuclear deal with Iran: for three years, it has contributed to avoiding a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and also for this reason it must be...
The international contact group for Venezuela

The international contact group for Venezuela

I write from Ethiopia, where I will take part in the African Union’s Summit, before travelling to other parts of the Horn of Africa. I will write about this in the next days (in the meantime, here is the programme of the visit). I came here straight from Montevideo in Uruguay, where I co-chaired with President Tabaré Vázquez the first meeting of the contact group that we have created to help find a solution to the crisis. With the members of the group – from Europe and Latin-America – we decided to proceed with contacts with the Venezuelan sides, to seek a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis, and to avoid a violent escalation of the conflict. Our goal is to help establish as soon as possible the necessary guarantees for new presidential elections, and to allow for the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance – reaching those who are truly in need, and avoiding that humanitarian aid gets politicised. For these reasons, we will soon send a technical mission to the country. Here is the official statement and what I told journalists after the meeting. The week had started with the meeting of Foreign Ministers from the European Union and the Arab League, to prepare our two organisations’ joint Summit at the end of the month. We discussed the crises in our region – from Libya to Yemen and Syria, also in view of the Brussels Conference for Syria that we will host in March. But we also talked about our cooperation to strengthen our economies, create jobs, manage migration flaws, address climate change. Here is my speech and the final press conference. On...
Europe and Canada, closer than ever

Europe and Canada, closer than ever

I write at the end of a week spent in Montreal and in Brussels. One and a half years ago we agreed on a “strategic partnership” with Canada – in other words, we decided to bring our political, economic and diplomatic cooperation to the highest level. In Montreal, earlier this week, I met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. With her I discussed all the main issues on the international agenda – from our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran to the situation in Ukraine – and our bilateral relations. Here is what I said opening our ministerial meeting and the final press conference. With Chrystia we also met a group of students, discussing with them Europe’s and Canada’s shared priorities on the international stage – the video is here. And still together, we took part in the “Most Powerful Women” annual summit organised by Fortune – more info here. Back to Brussels, I was at the “Africa week” organised by the Socialists and Democrats at the European Parliament. It was also the opportunity to meet again with President Roch Kaboré of Burkina Faso: with him, I talked about the partnership between Europe and Africa “beyond migration”. Here is the video and here is the press release on our meeting. Then, on Thursday, I chaired the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, with Presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci. Press release here. During the week I met with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Malki, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ Director Fernando Arias and the UN’s Special Rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Šimonović. Like every year,...
In a confused world, a strong and reliable Europe

In a confused world, a strong and reliable Europe

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...