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...
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...