At the final European Parliament’s plenary before the election

At the final European Parliament’s plenary before the election

I write coming back from Strasbourg, after the last European Parliament’s plenary session before next month’s election. We dealt with some of the most urgent crises in our region – particularly those in Libya and in Sudan, but also the situation in the Golan Heights and in the West Bank. On Tuesday I presented our new strategy for the partnership between Europe and Latin America, after years when our relations have been more intense than ever. And on Thursday we worked on the human rights’ situation in China, in Brunei and in Cameroon. But this plenary was also the opportunity to thank the Members of the European Parliament after five years of common work and to take stock – of our successes and our difficulties, with some lessons learnt for the future. Here is the discussion on our legacy that I had with the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees. The week before was dedicated mostly to the new military escalation in Libya, in touch with Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj and the UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame. We discussed Libya at length on Monday 8th in Luxembourg, with the Foreign Ministers of the European Union. All of us shared the same preoccupation for the consequences that the civilian population is suffering because of the offensive launched by General Khalifa Haftar and his troops. We also appealed to foreign actors to stop interfering, and to the parties to halt the fighting, accept the humanitarian ceasefire proposed by the UN and restart the UN-led dialogue. This is the message we sent both at the Foreign Affairs Council (press conference here) and again on Thursday 11th in our EU Declaration....
The European Union and China: a principled and pragmatic dialogue

The European Union and China: a principled and pragmatic dialogue

I write at the end of a full week in Brussels, at work with the Union’s Foreign Ministers, with the heads of government at the European Council, and with some important partners. We started the week with Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China – first for the EU-China Strategic Dialogue, then for a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Twenty-Eight. It is the first time that a Chinese Foreign Minister meets with all his EU counterparts. This is the sign of how close our relationship is: China is a global power that we have some substantial disagreements with, it is at times a competitor, but it is also an essential partner cooperating with us on many issues that are crucial for global peace and security – from Iran to Korea. For this reason, we need a dialogue that is principled and pragmatic at the same time. Here is the press conference with Wang Yi. I also discussed China with the EU heads of government, at the European Council on Thursday and Friday – this is what I told journalists ahead of the meeting. The Council was marked mostly by an important decision on the future of the United Kingdom – more details here. In the margins of the summit, I met with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to agree on our support to Mozambique, which has just been hit by a devastating cyclone – our press point is here. As always, I took part in the pre-summit with Socialist leaders: this time, it was an opportunity to meet with the Italian Democratic Party’s new leader, Nicola Zingaretti, for the...
Strasbourg

Strasbourg

I write at the end of a week marked by the terrorist attack in Strasbourg – a city that for centuries was at the centre stage of European wars, and for seventy years has been a symbol of peace, thanks to the European Union. One of the victims is Antonio Megalizzi, a young man who felt both Italian and European. The best way to honour his memory is to believe and to invest in our Union, with Antonio’s same enthusiasm and passion. In those hours I was also in Strasbourg, speaking on the floor of the European Parliament. We were reached by the news of the attack as we were discussing the situation in Ukraine (here is what I said). We had also discussed the situation in Ukraine with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, whom we hosted at the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Back to Brussels, I met with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. And I discussed Ukraine with the EU heads of state and government, at the European Council on Thursday and Friday. These are the other issues I discussed at the European Parliament’s plenary session: two reports on our foreign and defence policies; the case of Selahattin Demirtas, the opposition leader detained in Turkey; and the annual report on our work for human rights around the world. On Monday, at the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting, we also discussed how to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, the Balkans, our work with the African Union, and Venezuela. Here is what I told journalists before the Foreign Affairs Council, and the final press conference. Speaking of Venezuela: on Wednesday I met with...