Another step forward for European defence

Another step forward for European defence

I write after a week spent between Brussels and the Gulf. Last Monday I chaired the monthly meeting of European Foreign Ministers, which was the opportunity to host the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok: his country has chosen democracy and we – as the European Union – are trying to give our full support to this transition, from a political and economic point of view (press release here). We then dealt with the situation in Afghanistan after the presidential election, with the situation in the Gulf and the nuclear deal with Iran, and we discussed the latest developments in Bolivia. Press conference here. And this is our statement from last Monday on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran, together with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK. We also discussed the situation in Bolivia on Wednesday at the European Parliament’s plenary session, here is the debate. And here are the debates on Turkey’s drilling activities off the Cypriot coast and on the situation in Chile. Last Tuesday I chaired the meeting of the Union’s Defence Ministers. Together we hosted NATO’s deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană to discuss EU-NATO cooperation, before we moved to two other issues. We approved thirteen new projects in the framework of our Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence, spanning from common trainings to missile defence. And we worked on our European military and civilian missions, to guarantee that they always have the necessary resources – we focused in particular on key areas such as the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. There were also some positive steps forward regarding Operation Sophia’s future. Here is the press...
At the UN General Assembly: a global network for multilateralism

At the UN General Assembly: a global network for multilateralism

I write after coming back from the United Nations’ General Assembly – my last one as High Representative: during these five years we strengthened cooperation between the European Union and the UN like never before, and we made the EU a global point of reference for all those who believe that our world must be governed together, joining forces, instead of going for unilateral approaches that do not solve our problems. As every year, we dealt with the great crises of our times – from our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, to the compromise reached by the Syrian regime and opposition on a “constitutional committee”; from the attempt to relaunch a political negotiation in Libya, to the work for Venezuela with the Contact Group and the international conference we just announced to support Venezuelan refugees. Our approach has been clear: we have always tried to bring all relevant actors to the table, and to keep the United Nations at the core of our work. This is the best way to protect and to strengthen the multilateral system, with action not just words.   New energy for multilateralism I discussed this approach with Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, at the beginning of the General Assembly (press release here). And most importantly, we put this approach in practice throughout the week. This was the case, for instance, with the joint task force of the European Union, the African Union and the UN agencies, thanks to which more than fifty thousand migrants have been transferred from Libya. Or with the new partnership that we have just created with...