On the events in Gaza after the US Embassy move to Jerusalem

#MiddleEast “We believe Jerusalem’s status has to be defined through negotiations and we believe the realistic outcome of that would and should be Jerusalem being the capital both of the state of Israel and of the state of Palestine” @FedericaMog on #MEPP pic.twitter.com/gzdtAgsu3K — European External Action Service – EEAS 🇪🇺 (@eu_eeas) 15 maggio...

Towards a Europe of defence

I write after coming back from Bulgaria, where I chaired an informal meeting of the European Union’s Defence Ministers. We worked on some practical projects we launched to build up a Europe of defence, for the first time in our history. And we talked about peacekeeping operations with two important partners: NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Here is what I told journalists before and after the meeting. We also discussed the new budget of the European Union, which for the first time will also deal with defence and security for our citizens. Last Wednesday we put forward, as European Commission, our proposal for a budget with important innovations – for instance, we propose to double the funds for the Erasmus programme. Here is our proposal. Last week had begun in Cairo, with a meeting of the Quartet for Libya – together with the Arab League, the African Union and the United Nations. Here is the press conference in Cairo. From Cairo I also commented on the presentation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran: I repeated that the deal with Iran is based on a strong monitoring mechanism by the International Atomic Energy Agency – it is not based on trust between the parties. And every inspection by the IAEA has certified that the deal is being implemented. Here is my answer to journalists on Iran. A few other important things from last week. On Thursday I chaired the Association Council with Moldova – here is the press conference after the Council. On Wednesday I took the floor in the European Parliament to debate the political crisis in Venezuela...

Speech at the Ministerial Conference on UNRWA

Check against delivery We are here in Rome to send two strong messages. Firstly, that the work of UNRWA is important and must be preserved. Second, to support this work concretely. We care, because it is a moral duty but also a self-interest. The situation in the Middle East is extremely volatile and we can’t afford even greater destabilisation. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is taking care of millions of people. Preserving and supporting UNRWA is not just a matter of humanity. It is also our strategic interest, for the sake of peace and security in the Middle East, and our own security. UNRWA is of crucial importance for at least three reasons: for the future of all Palestine refugees, for the viability of the two-state solution, for stability and security in the region. First: a sudden stop of UNRWA’s services in all fields of operation, not least in Gaza, would be incredibly dangerous. More than seven hundred schools would likely not open anymore after the summer break, and hospitals would be much less operational. Palestine refugees would probably lose their hope for the future. And when people lose hope, they often become an easy target for the propaganda of terrorist groups. Second: UNRWA is essential for Palestinian State building, and for the very perspective of a two-state solution. There can be no State without schools, hospitals and vocational training. Moreover, a just, agreed and realistic solution to the refugee question is one of the key elements for peace. And the two-state solution is still the only viable path towards...
With Israelis and Palestinians, to restart the peace process

With Israelis and Palestinians, to restart the peace process

I write after we spent the first part of this week working mostly on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Last Monday, with the Foreign Ministers of the Union, we welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Brussels – after hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last December. We confirmed to Abbas our commitment to a solution of the conflict based on two States: the State of Israel, with West Jerusalem as its capital, and the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We agreed on the need to relaunch the peace process in a multilateral format – with a central role for the European Union, but always together with the Quartet, our American friends and the Arab countries. At the end of January we will all meet here in Brussels – the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Quartet Members, Norway and other important partners – for an extraordinary meeting of the group of international donors for Palestine, the “Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.” Here is my press conference with Abbas, and here is what I told journalists before and after the Foreign Affairs Council. Yesterday I met with Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament – a sign of our friendship and constant cooperation with Israel, not just to relaunch the peace process but also in our bilateral relations, and to tackle together the issue of anti-Semitism in our region. At the end of this week we will mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and today at the European Commission we listened to the stories of three Holocaust survivors – ElĹĽbieta Ficowska, Jehoshua Shochot ed Elisabeth Drillich....