Working to save the deal with Iran

Working to save the deal with Iran

I write from Sofia, Bulgaria, after days when the entire European Union, together, has worked non-stop on the nuclear deal with Iran and tensions in the Middle East. As the European Union, we believe that the US decision to withdraw from Iran deal is a mistake. The deal is working, as certified eleven times by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and it is strategic for our security. So we are determined to preserve it, and united in our determination. Here are my words after the US announcement, and here is the declaration I made on behalf of all 28 EU States. On Tuesday I gathered in Brussels the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom – the three European countries that negotiated the deal together with the US, Russia and China. We decided to start working on a package of measures to protect the deal, to make sure that Iranian citizens can enjoy the benefits of it, and to safeguard our economic interests. Our goal is to maintain and deepen our economic ties – including with new projects, starting with energy and transport – while defending and incentivising small and medium enterprises investing in Iran. The same unanimous will to respect the deal was confirmed last night in Sofia, by the 28 heads of State and government of the European Union. They also agreed on the measures we had put forward yesterday morning at the European Commission’s meeting in Brussels, which I presented to them together with President Jean-Claude Juncker. The first step, tomorrow, will be to launch the procedure to activate...
A visit to Kyiv. Then at work on Syria and the Middle East

A visit to Kyiv. Then at work on Syria and the Middle East

I write at the end of a week I’ve spent in Kyiv, Strasbourg and Rome. First in Ukraine, last Sunday and Monday, to talk about the reforms the government has launched in the last years and about the war in the eastern part of the country. Today the European Union and Ukraine are closer than ever, but there is still a lot to do to tackle the issues that the people of Ukraine care the most about – starting with the fight against corruption. This is what I discussed with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, but also with civil society representatives and a group of students at Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv – here is our conversation. The situation in Donbass and Crimea was at the core of my meetings with the Minister for temporarily occupied territories Vadym Chernysh, with the head of the OSCE monitoring mission in Donbass, with the OSCE representative to the Trilateral contact group and with the International Red Cross. We will discuss the situation in Ukraine also in our Foreign Affairs Council next Monday – here is our declaration confirming our non-recognition policy on the illegal annexation of Crimea, on the annexation’s fourth anniversary. From Eastern Europe to the Middle East: I dedicated the second part of the week mostly to the situation in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. On Tuesday I was in Strasbourg for the European Parliament’s plenary: we discussed the situation in Eastern Ghouta and Afrin, and the work we are doing not onky to bring some relief to the Syrian people, but also to restart the peace talks in Geneva. Here is my speech in the plenary and the Q&A...
Working to preserve the deal with Iran

Working to preserve the deal with Iran

I write after coming back from Bulgaria, where together with the whole College of European Commissioners we inaugurated the Bulgarian semester of Presidency of the European Union. The next six months will be particularly important for our relations with the Balkans: our goal remains to consolidate our six partners’ path  towards the EU, so it becomes an irreversible process. These were intense days, especially because of our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran. On Thursday I chaired a meeting in Brussels with the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with the Foreign Ministers of the three European countries that negotiated the deal (Jean-Yves Le Drian for France, Boris Johnson for Britain, and Sigmar Gabriel for Germany). The deal is working, the International Atomic Energy Agency has certified it nine times already, and it is crucial for the security of Europe and the world. It is positive that yesterday President Donald Trump confirmed that the United States will respect their commitments, extending the waiver on nuclear-related sanctions foreseen by the deal. Our meeting in Brussels was also the opportunity to discuss other themes that are not related to the nuclear deal, as the last weeks’ protests in Iran, the tensions in the Middle East and Iran’s ballistic missiles program. There are issues we Europeans are concerned about, which we are committed to tackling with even greater determination, outside the scope of the nuclear deal: in fact, the deal was negotiated on the basis on a UN mandate that limited its scope very clearly. Here is the press conference with Le Drian, Johnson and Gabriel dopo l’incontro. For the European Union, the Middle East is a strategic...