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...
Manchester’s sorrow, and our response

Manchester’s sorrow, and our response

A painful week ends, marked by the attack last Monday in Manchester. An attack against our youth, their desire to live, to be together, to have fun together. As a mother, I cannot help thinking of those families’ infinite sorrow. As European institutions, we immediately offered all our support to the UK, strengthening the exchange of information and cooperation among our intelligence services. But the strongest response lies in our willingness to keep on living. We look ahead with hope, “we don’t look back in anger” – this is what the people of Manchester said and sang, when they took on the streets to react together. We also talked about our cooperation against terrorism when we welcomed President Donald Trump to Brussels, on Thursday. He paid a visit to the European institutions during his first foreign trip as the US President, after Vice-President Mike Pence came here during the first month of the administration, and after the many meeting I had with Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, HR McMaster, Jason Greenblatt, Nikki Haley. The United States and the European Union continue to work together: on our shared priorities – from Syria to Ukraine – as well as on issues where our views differ – on these, too, our dialogue is open, and fruitful. This week we also welcomed Emmanuel Macron to Brussels, for the first time as French President. With him, and with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian I discussed the common work ahead and how to relaunch and strengthen our European Union. Including on security and defence. And this last week marked an important step forward towards a European Union of security and defence. Together with...
A trip through the Balkans

A trip through the Balkans

I write after the first day of a visit to the “Western Balkans Six”, which have started a path towards entering the European Union. The first stop, yesterday, was in Montenegro – the country that has made more progress in the negotiations with the EU, and is also on the doorstep of NATO. Today I will continue to Sarajevo and Skopje, tomorrow I will be in Belgrade and Tirana, Saturday in Pristina. Here is the op-ed published on a number of regional media ahead of my visit. In Podgorica I met with President Filip Vujanovic, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic (here is our press conference) and the Speaker of the Parliament Ivan Brajovic, before I addressed the members of the Parliament. My message to all institutions, which I will repeat in all capitals, is that the door of the European Union is open for the Balkan countries. This is not an “enlargement” of our Union but a “reunification” – because the Balkans are part of Europe. In the first sixty years of our history, which we are about to celebrate, we have learnt that working together makes much more sense than fighting against one another. When I say this here in the Balkans, where the last of the European wars of the last century was fought, it has a very special value. And the discussion on the future of Europe also has a special value here: we must keep in mind that, when the UK will leave us, the next phase of our Union will not be at 27. One Member State will leave, others will join in. In preparation to the anniversary of the Treaties of 1957, last Monday I...