Our Union, a force for peace

Our Union, a force for peace

I write after coming back from Dubrovnick, Croatia, where I took part – together with our partners in the Balkans – to the summit of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process. It was the first time for a High Representative at this meeting, and it was an opportunity to say once again that the future of the European Union will not be at 27: the Balkans’ path towards EU membership goes on (here is what I told journalists at the summit). Tomorrow, in Brussels, I will host the Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hasim Thaci, to push forward the dialogue and the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina (here is the press release). The European Union was originally a peace project, and we continue to put peace at the core of our action. Last Wednesday I was in Crans Montana, in Switzerland, for the beginning of a new round of talks on Cyprus’ reunification. It is a historic opportunity to end a conflict that has lasted for over forty years, and the European Union is ready to do all it can to help the two communities reach a deal (press release here). More on peace. This week we had good news from Colombia: the FARC have finally laid down their arms, putting an end – after the deal signed with President Juan Manuel Santos – to a half-a-century-long conflict. My statement is here. Four other important things that happened this week. On Thursday I was in Tallinn, for the beginning of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union. Over the next six months we will focus particularly on our partners in Eastern Europe, on migration,...

Statement by Federica Mogherini on the ceremony on the laying down of arms in Colombia

After more than five decades of conflict, the Colombian peace process has become irreversible today with the end of FARC´s disarmament. Eamon Gilmore, Special Envoy for the peace process in Colombia, participated yesterday on my behalf in a historic ceremony in Colombia in the department of Meta, celebrating this crucial step forward. It consolidates the progress that has been achieved in the past few months, thanks to the firm commitment of both parties, to ensure that the provisions of the Peace Agreement are being effectively implemented. I encourage both parties to pursue their work towards implementing the remaining provisions of the Agreement. The European Union will continue to stand by Colombia in its commitment to the cause of peace through intensive political dialogue and cooperation programmes. Mr. Gilmore will keep working to assist this process and to intensify his contacts with all relevant Colombian and international actors. We will encourage and support all steps towards a sustainable and lasting peace, which end violence, empower communities, and brings security and prosperity to all...
In Malta, with our African and Libyan partners

In Malta, with our African and Libyan partners

I write on my way to the United States, where I will hold a first series of meetings with the new Administration, starting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. I will write about it in the coming days. Today I would like to write about an important working day with the Maltese Presidency and our Libyan and African partners. The morning started with a meeting to take stock of the work on migration we are doing together – Europe, Africa, international organisations such as the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organisation for Migration (IOM) – after the Valletta summit of November 2015: we are dismantling the traffickers’ networks, saving lives, investing in local development. This work is delivering the first results, and we will keep on this path. Cooperation, partnership, respect: this is the European way to manage migration. In a world that seems obsessed with the illusion of walls, this work becomes ever more important. Here is the video of my speech today in Malta. Cooperation, partnership and respect brought me aboard the San Giorgio ship today: together with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, we delivered diplomas to a first group of Libyan coastguards, who received training from our EU Operation Sophia’s personnel. In one year Operation Sophia has saved over 33,000 people in international waters, arrested over one hundred suspected traffickers, seized 400 vessels. Now, training the Libyan coastguard, we will strengthen our partners’ capabilities to do the same in Libya’s territorial waters and on the coast. Together with the UN agencies, we also put a particular emphasis on human rights. Here is...
After the European Council. Working to protect civilians in Aleppo

After the European Council. Working to protect civilians in Aleppo

I write after an important European Council, in difficult hours of constant contacts to try and protect civilians in Aleppo – and in the rest of Syria. At the Council we discussed about Aleppo, our humanitarian aid, the work we are doing with the United Nations to start the evacuation of civilians in Aleppo and elsewhere. But we also discussed our diplomatic work to lay the ground for a political solution in Syria, allowing for a transition and for the reconstruction of the country. I updated the Heads of State and government on the work done, on the humanitarian and political level, and we discussed together the next steps. Here is what I told the journalists, here the Council Conclusions. At the Council we also talked about migration. I presented the work we have done through our “migration compacts” with five African countries: I explained the results we have already achieved and the commitments that still have to be put in practice, with our African partners and with the International Organisation for Migration. Yesterday we also signed a 100 million plan for joint projects with IOM, and a few hours before the Council I welcomed to Brussels the President on Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou. Together we have signed agreements for 500 million euros in new European investments, to support a crucial country for the stability of our region: we are investing in development, in education (especially for girls), in good jobs and in security. Here is our press conference, here the one with IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. Yesterday I also presented to the Council the package of measures I have prepared to strengthen European cooperation on security and defence. Security...