With Rohingya refugees. Then at work with our Eastern partners and Africa

With Rohingya refugees. Then at work with our Eastern partners and Africa

I write after a week that begun in South-East Asia and ended with our partners from Eastern Europe. Last Sunday I was in Bangladesh to visit the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, hosting hundreds of thousands Rohingya refugees (video here). I heard stories – particularly from a group of women and mothers – so powerful that I will never forget. To help find a solution, I met with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and the day after, in Myanmar, with State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi. I was in Myanmar on the occasion of the Asia-Europe Meeting: so on Monday morning we gathered all the Foreign Ministers who were there, to encourage an agreement on the Rohingyas’ fate (here my statement on behalf of EU ministers). And an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar was reached a few days later: now, as European Union, we expect that their return will happen fast and in safe conditions. Here is my statement on the agreement. The Asia-Europe meeting was also an opportunity to discuss cooperation on peace, security and economic growth with our Asian partners. Here is my speech at the opening ceremony of the summit, and the meeting’s conclusions. Back to Brussels, on Wednesday we worked to prepare next week’s summit between the African Union and the European Union. I met with the African Union’s Secretary General Moussa Faki, then – at the European Parliament – with Central-African President  Faustine-Archange Touadera and Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop. Over the last days, once again we saw terrible images coming from the detention camps in Libya: we have agreed joint measures to protect these people and help them go back to their homes (here is my joint statement the President...
One year after the British referendum: a stronger European Union

One year after the British referendum: a stronger European Union

I write after a week spent in Brussels and Luxembourg: it has been exactly one year since the referendum on Brexit – which, according to many, should have marked the beginning of the end for the European Union. Not only this was not the case: today, the European Union is stronger. We have understood what we could have lost – sixty years of peace and rights – and beyond that, we have understood that the only way to “take back control” in a globalised world is together: only as Europeans can we regain sovereignty, only together can we protect and promote our interests and values. And together we have found a way to relaunch our Union. On European defence, for instance, we have achieved more in one year than in the previous decade. At the European Council last Thursday the 28 EU countries have taken historic decisions: I talked about them before the Council, here is the video. The steps forward we have taken are part of the Global Strategy for foreign and security policy I presented one year ago. Last Monday I put out the first annual report on the Strategy’s implementation: here is the video on the main results, here my foreword to the report, here is my speech at the EU Institute for Security Studies’ annual conference. Talking about security: on Monday, at the Council of Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, we adopted a set of counter-terrorism measures. Among other decisions, we agreed to expand the network of counter-terrorism experts working in the EU Delegations to third countries. I explain these decisions in this article, written together with the Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King. And here is...
Twelve things to bring with us in 2017

Twelve things to bring with us in 2017

First day of the year, it is time for taking stock of the past year and for setting the objectives for the months ahead. 2016 was a very tough year, and 2017 has started with a terrible terrorist attack in Istanbul: this reminds us dramatically that the work we still have to do – to defeat terrorism, but also to end the too many conflicts in the region – is a work we must do together. Together, by trying and building the unity of our communities, every day; and together with our partners, starting with our neighbours. The year that has just started will not be easy, but there are things we managed to build in 2016 that we can bring with us, to accompany us along the way. These are twelve moments I wish to bring with me, to guide our work through 2017.   A Global Strategy for our foreign policy We have worked on it for months, and the work ended in a very peculiar moment. The British citizens had just voted to leave the European Union. Some thought it would be better to wait for a better moment. For me, it was important – in those very hours – to set up a common Strategy, for the whole Union, for our foreign and security policy. So, after months of collective work, I presented the Global Strategy to the European Council of June 28th: a clear and shared idea on the path ahead, on our citizens’ needs, on what needs to change but also – and foremost – on our strength, which we must use with more pride and...
Working for Syria. Working with Africa

Working for Syria. Working with Africa

I am travelling from Rome, where I went for voting in the Italian referendum – as ever, but this time for a crucial reform for Italy’s present and future. In Rome I also attended an important event, Med2016, a crossroads for thoughts and proposals on our Mediterranean sea. There I presented the work the European Union is doing for Syria, in the humanitarian field (focusing particularly on Aleppo) and on finding a political solution to the war. Here are the video and the text of my dialogue with Staffan de Mistura. The future of Syria was also at the core of my conversation with the Syrian Women Advisory Board, a group of women from Syria’s civil society, a few days ago in Brussels: to support their work, listen to their voices, and imagine together how to build a future for millions of Syrians. In the last few days, in Brussels, I had two other important meetings. Both were a sign of our friendship and our support to two of our neighbours, to the South and to the East. I met with Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi (here is the video of our press point) and co-chaired the Association Council between the European Union and Georgia, together with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (here is the video of our press conference). On Friday I took part in the EU-NGO Forum: we work with civil society organisations on a daily basis in every part of the world (here is video of my speech). Right now I am flying towards Dakar, where tomorrow I will open the International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, together with Senegal’s President Macky Sall – and our cooperation with...