Maastricht, the Balkans, Africa

Maastricht, the Balkans, Africa

I write after a week spent mostly in Brussels, working on Africa, on the Balkans and the future of the European Union. On Thursday I celebrated twenty-five years since the Treaty of Maastricht, in the very hall where it was signed, with university students from all around Europe. In Maastricht we stopped being just a free trade area, and became a Union. From that moment on, we are not only customers, but citizens – with plenty of rights but also with the responsibility to always contribute to making our Union work. Here is the video of my speech. The Treaty of Maastricht spoke about “ending the divisions of the European continent:” not just a dream, but a concrete goal. And our continent will not be truly united until all our partners in the Balkans are not part of the European Union. This week we have continued to work for all our six partners to take irreversible steps on their path towards the European Union. On Friday I met with the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Behgjet Pacolli: here is the press release. Over the week we also had two meetings and one important achievement on Africa. On Wednesday I opened the “Africa week” organised by the group of the Socialists and Democrats at the European Parliament. The hashtag for the event, #withAfrica, perfectly sums up the transition we are working on, from a donor-recipient mentality to a full partnership between the European Union and Africa. Here is my speech. With the same spirit, this week our new European External Investment Plan has become reality: a program to help European firms – including small and medium enterprises –...
At the United Nations’ General Assembly

At the United Nations’ General Assembly

I write after coming back from New York, where just like every year I took part in the the United Nations’ General Assembly ministerial week. It is a moment to show the European Union’s practical support to the multilateral system and the United Nations – the essential pivot towards peaceful solutions to today’s crises. It was an intense week, difficult at times, with many important achievements but also some tough moments. Starting with the tensions between the United States and Iran. Defending Iran deal On Wednesday night I chaired the meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Iran and the six countries that, two years ago, negotiated the deal on Iran’s nuclear program – the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and the UK. Together we confirmed that Iran is fulfilling the agreements, as the International Atomic Energy Agency certified eight times. It is up to the IAEA to verify that all nuclear commitments are being implemented: this is what the deal states, together with a Resolution by the UN Security Council. For this reason, the deal belongs to the whole world, not just to one or two countries, and the European Union will do everything in our power to guarantee the deal is fully implemented by all. This is the message I delivered in my meetings with the Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. Here is my press conference on Iran, here my interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. For global non-proliferation In a moment when tension with North Korea continue, it would make no sense to dismantle a non-proliferation deal that is working...