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...
Twelve things to bring with us in 2018

Twelve things to bring with us in 2018

This was a difficult year for the world, but just like all other years 2017 also brought us good moments and some good things – things we achieved with a lot of commitment, a lot of energy and some great teamwork. As ever on New Year’ Day, I have tried to list twelve things that I bring with me into the new year, from the year that just ended. Twelve special moments marking my 2017.   Relaunching our Union, starting with defence It was the year when the path towards greater European unity restarted. I have two images in mind. First, the sixtieth anniversary of our Union, on March 25th in Rome: not just a ceremony to celebrate the past, but a practical commitment to relaunch and strengthen the European Union, together (I wrote about it here). We started with the Europe of defence: after months of hard work, last December I announced the launch of a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence. It is a dream of our founders coming true, together with a package of measures including a European Defence Fund and stronger cooperation with NATO (I explained everything at the European Parliament, here). It is a way to be more efficient and autonomous, as Europeans, also in the field of defence. And to become a more reliable point of reference for our global partners.   At work with Africa for migrants One moment to sum up thousands of stories: last November in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, we held the first summit between the European Union and the African Union, with the Prime Ministers of our countries. It was the sign that our partnership has...
Jerusalem, a capital for two States

Jerusalem, a capital for two States

I write at the end of a week very much focused on the situation in Israel and Palestine, after President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. We Europeans believe that Jerusalem must be the capital of two States, the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. And we believe that the only way to achieve this goal is via direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians (here is my press conference on Friday, and here the interview with Christiane Amanpour). This is what I told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in our phone conversation on Wednesday, when I also invited him to work for all demonstrations to be peaceful (press release here). And Abbas will be our guest at the Foreign Affairs Council in January. This is also what we discussed with Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman al Safadi, in Brussels on Friday. Jordan has a very special role when it comes to Jerusalem: King Abdullah is the custodian of the Holy Places, and a wise man. He can count on the European Union’s full and constant support. Here is my press conference with Safadi. I will deliver the same message tomorrow – together with the 28 EU Foreign Ministers – to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will join us in Brussels. And with the same openness, I spoke to our American friends: I talked on the phone to Jared Kushner’s, the President’s Middle East advisor, and in person to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, here in Brussels. With Tillerson we discussed all the main foreign policy issues: those the European Union and the United States have different opinions about, such as the fight against climate change and the United Nation’s role, and all...