With Rohingya refugees. Then at work with our Eastern partners and Africa

With Rohingya refugees. Then at work with our Eastern partners and Africa

I write after a week that begun in South-East Asia and ended with our partners from Eastern Europe. Last Sunday I was in Bangladesh to visit the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, hosting hundreds of thousands Rohingya refugees (video here). I heard stories – particularly from a group of women and mothers – so powerful that I will never forget. To help find a solution, I met with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and the day after, in Myanmar, with State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi. I was in Myanmar on the occasion of the Asia-Europe Meeting: so on Monday morning we gathered all the Foreign Ministers who were there, to encourage an agreement on the Rohingyas’ fate (here my statement on behalf of EU ministers). And an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar was reached a few days later: now, as European Union, we expect that their return will happen fast and in safe conditions. Here is my statement on the agreement. The Asia-Europe meeting was also an opportunity to discuss cooperation on peace, security and economic growth with our Asian partners. Here is my speech at the opening ceremony of the summit, and the meeting’s conclusions. Back to Brussels, on Wednesday we worked to prepare next week’s summit between the African Union and the European Union. I met with the African Union’s Secretary General Moussa Faki, then – at the European Parliament – with Central-African President  Faustine-Archange Touadera and Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop. Over the last days, once again we saw terrible images coming from the detention camps in Libya: we have agreed joint measures to protect these people and help them go back to their homes (here is my joint statement the President...
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...