European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

I write at the end of a week spent in Helsinki with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the Union. With the Defence Ministers we worked on three crucial issues for our security. For the first time ever, we discussed together how climate change is becoming a threat to our common security – to tackle natural disasters, the conflicts sparked by climate change, and too reduce the environmental impact of our defence systems. Second, we dealt again with cyber-security and how to govern the use of artificial intelligence in weapon systems, together with the tech leaders that I gathered in our Global Tech Panel. And third, we also talked about coordinating our Member States’ naval presence in crisis theatres or in areas of strategic interest for Europe – with Coordinated Maritime Presences. Finally, with the Defence and Foreign Ministers together, we talked hybrid threats and our response to them. The path towards greater European cooperation on defence continues. Here is the final press conference and here is what I told journalists before the meeting. On Thursday and Friday the work went on with Foreign Ministers. We worked on the situation in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and in the Gulf, and on how to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran – including in a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK which I called in the margins of the main meeting. We also dealt with the Arctic and the situation in Hong Kong. Then a session with our six partners in the Balkans, to discuss how to step up cooperation and integration in this crucial part...
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....