European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

I write at the end of a week spent in Helsinki with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the Union. With the Defence Ministers we worked on three crucial issues for our security. For the first time ever, we discussed together how climate change is becoming a threat to our common security – to tackle natural disasters, the conflicts sparked by climate change, and too reduce the environmental impact of our defence systems. Second, we dealt again with cyber-security and how to govern the use of artificial intelligence in weapon systems, together with the tech leaders that I gathered in our Global Tech Panel. And third, we also talked about coordinating our Member States’ naval presence in crisis theatres or in areas of strategic interest for Europe – with Coordinated Maritime Presences. Finally, with the Defence and Foreign Ministers together, we talked hybrid threats and our response to them. The path towards greater European cooperation on defence continues. Here is the final press conference and here is what I told journalists before the meeting. On Thursday and Friday the work went on with Foreign Ministers. We worked on the situation in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and in the Gulf, and on how to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran – including in a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK which I called in the margins of the main meeting. We also dealt with the Arctic and the situation in Hong Kong. Then a session with our six partners in the Balkans, to discuss how to step up cooperation and integration in this crucial part...
Europe’s engagement for Venezuela

Europe’s engagement for Venezuela

I write after a week marked mostly by the crisis in Venezuela. We discussed it at length with the European Union’s Foreign Ministers during our informal meeting in Bucharest, during the Romanian Presidency of the EU, which followed the informal meeting of Defence Ministers. In Bucharest we announced the creation of an international contact group for Venezuela, which will include European and Latin-American countries, to seek a peaceful and democratic way out of the crisis. Our goal is to bring together the efforts of different countries that can contribute to a peaceful solution, towards new elections that should be held as soon as possible. Here is the press conference where I talk about it, and here is the announcement of the contact group’s first meeting, next Thursday in Uruguay. We have been working for quite a while on the European Union’s contribution to solving the crisis. Last Tuesday I discussed it with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (press release here), and in my Brussels’ meetings with the Foreign Ministers of two countries that will be part of the contact group – José Valencia of Ecuador and Diego Pary of Bolivia. Then, on Thursday, Germany, France and the United Kingdom announced the creation of a mechanism to let European firms continue their trade with Iran, as foreseen by the nuclear deal – which we want to preserve, as a pillar of our security. We – as the European Union – will accompany the work of the countries that set up this mechanism. Here is my statement. In the days we spent in Bucharest – hosted by Romania, which is holding...