Cooperation is the key word for the European Union

Cooperation is the key word for the European Union

I write at the end of a week I spent in Ethiopia, in Brussels and Munich – a week at work on Africa and with Africa, and on our common security. The summit of heads of State and government of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, was the opportunity to discuss our common work on sustainable development, security and stability, the respect of democracy and human rights, and on a humane management of migration flows. I discussed this first of all with the representative of Ethiopian institutions: I met with President Sahle-Work Zewde, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu. Europe supports the internal reforms they have launched and these months’ dialogue between Ethiopia and Eritrea – which, after decades of conflict, is giving hope to an entire continent. I talked about this with journalists, here. The European Union’s presence in Ethiopia is strong, including in support of those people who went back home after they had undertaken a difficult travel to seek a better future. I met some of them in a centre managed – with European support – by the International Organisation for Migration, together with Director General Antonio Vitorino. These young men and women – some of them are still children – are taking trainings and will receive a small financial help, to let them go back to school or start a new business. Here is the video. I discussed the strategic relationship between Europe and African with the African Union’s President Moussa Faki, with ​the President of Burkina Faso, Rich Marc Kabore; the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archangel Touadera; the President of...
Practical contributions to peace

Practical contributions to peace

I write on my way to the United States – where I will speak about transatlantic relations at Harvard – in the wake of the sad day of President George H.W. Bush’s passing: here is what I said yesterday morning about him. My week has started in Brussels with the meeting with this year’s two Nobel Peace Prize winners: Denis Mukwege, the Congolese doctor who has devoted his entire life to healing women who have suffered from sexual violence, and Nadia Murad, the Yazidi girl who has become a symbol of the resistance against Daesh. I had already met them in Strasbourg when they received the Sakharov prize; this time, we welcomed them to the EU Development ministers’ meeting, on the occasion of the international day for the elimination of violence against women. And we decided to mobilise five million euros more in support to their initiatives. Here is the press conference with Denis and Nadia. On Wednesday I was in Geneva for the conference on peace in Afghanistan, organised by the United Nations. I put on the table five practical proposals on how the European union can support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, to finally end an endless war. And I discussed these proposals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Here is my speech at the conference. In Geneva I also met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (press release here), one day after I had met in Brussels with Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, who leads the Iranian atomic energy agency. With both of them I discussed the work we are...
A visit to Asia-Pacific: so distant, so close

A visit to Asia-Pacific: so distant, so close

I write as I travel from Singapore to Seoul, the first two stops of an official visit to Asia-Pacific: I will then head to New Zealand and Australia. This region is geographically distant from Europe, but it is crucial to our security and our economy, and we have developed great cooperation on all the main global issues. During the last two days I was in Singapore for the annual meeting of South-East Asia’s countries, for the ASEAN regional forum, and for the European Union-ASEAN ministerial meeting. South-East Asia is literally at the other side of the world. But we share the same vision of international relations, of multilateralism, of trade, of preventing radicalisation and fighting terrorism, of the fight against climate change –just to mention the main files in our cooperation, which is getting closer and closer (here is an article about it on EUobserver). We work side by side with our partners in Asia-Pacific to accompany the negotiations to de-nuclearise the Korean peninsula. We are striking trade deals with the main regional economies, to protect our firms and create new opportunities. In our globalised world, Asia’s peace, security and economic growth are essential for Europe too. Here is my speech opening the EU-ASEAN meeting, here is my conversation with students from the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and here is my interview to Singapore’s Business Times. I was welcomed to Singapore by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. With the Foreign Ministers of China, Wang Yi, and of Japan, Taro Kono, we discussed how to strengthen even further our bilateral cooperation after the two summits we just held...
A Vienna, per salvare l’accordo con l’Iran

A Vienna, per salvare l’accordo con l’Iran

Scrivo di ritorno da Vienna, dove ho riunito per la prima volta a livello ministeriale la Commissione che sovrintende al rispetto dell’accordo nucleare con l’Iran. Insieme con i ministri degli Esteri dell’Iran Javad Zarif, della Francia Jean-Yves Le Drian, della Germania Heiko Maas, della Russia Sergei Lavrov, della Cina Wang Yi e al sottosegretario britannico Alistair Burt, abbiamo discusso di un pacchetto corposo di misure per preservare l’accordo, dopo la decisione degli Stati Uniti di ritirarsi unilateralmente dall’intesa. Oltre ad avere ribadito la scelta politica di continuare ad attuare l’accordo, di interesse strategico per la sicurezza dell’Unione europea e del mondo, abbiamo concordato le nostre linee di azione per mantenere le esportazioni di petrolio e gas dall’Iran, tenere aperti i canali finanziari così come i rapporti commerciali, e per sostenere gli imprenditori, soprattutto piccoli e medi, che investono in Iran. Qui il testo che abbiamo adottato nel corso della ministeriale e che ho letto alla stampa al termine della riunione. Prima di presiedere la Commissione, ho avuto un lungo colloquio con Zarif per discutere dello stato di attuazione dell’accordo che, secondo l’Agenzia atomica dell’Onu (Aiea), l’Iran sta pienamente rispettando. La riunione è stata anche l’occasione di incontri bilaterali con il ministro russo Sergei Lavrov, con cui abbiamo parlato anche di Ucraina, Siria e Balcani, e con il ministro degli Esteri e consigliere di Stato cinese Wang Yi, con il quale abbiamo fatto un punto sui nostri rapporti bilaterali, in vista del summit tra Unione europea e Cina di metà luglio. La settimana era cominciata a Roma, dove ho visitato il quartiere generale di Operazione Sophia, l’operazione militare europea nel...