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...
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...
Two important results on Mercosur and Iran

Two important results on Mercosur and Iran

I write at the end of a week when we achieved two very important results. On Friday, after years of negotiations, we reached a trade agreement with the Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is good news for European firms, but the deal goes well beyond trade: it protects workers’ rights and the environment, it creates political dialogue and multilateral cooperation. Europe and Latin America are closer than ever. This week I had discussed the deal with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, during his visit to Brussels – press release here. On Friday we also gave an important announcement on the defence of the nucleare deal with Iran: the instrument to support legitimate trade exchanges with Iran (called INSTEX) has become operational and is processing the first transactions. Together with the three countries that set it up – France, Germany and the UK – another seven European countries will join the mechanism. On Friday we also gathered the Joint Commission that works to guarantee the deal’s implementation: press release here. Over the week we worked a lot on European defence: on Monday I was at the European Defence Agency (here is my speech), and on Wednesday I joined the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting. Transatlantic cooperation was also at the core of my conversation at the annual Brussels Forum organised by the German Marshall Fund – here is the video. On Friday I also met with the US Envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey, and I spoke to the UN Envoy Geir Pedersen. This week I met some important partners for the EU. On Thursday I chaired the Association...