Arab League, Lebanon, Jordan: at work with our Middle Eastern partners

Arab League, Lebanon, Jordan: at work with our Middle Eastern partners

I write at the end of a week when I have mostly worked with our partners in the Middle East. The week started in Egypt, last Sunday, with the first Summit between the European Union and the Arab League: here is what I told journalists before the Summit, and here is my speech. In Egypt I also had the chance to meet bilaterally with the Foreign Ministers of Jordan, Ayman Safadi, and of Tunisia, Khemais Jhinaoui. From Egypt to Lebanon, possibly the most “European” Arab country and one of our closest partners in the region. In Beirut I met with President Michel Aoun, the Parliament’s President Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Interior Minister Raya El Hassan (press release here). With Prime Minister Hariri we inaugurated the new European Embassy in Beirut – a sign of ever closer and stronger ties between Europe and Lebanon. Here is my speech at the ceremony. Then on Thursday I was at the London Initiative on Jordan: a country of immense potential, in economic terms and for its human capital, with a leadership who managed to remain wise and rational through these difficult years. In London I also met with Jordan Prime Minister Omar Razzaz. Here is what I said during the conference. On Wednesday I was at the European Parliament in Brussels, for the opening of the World Congress against the Death Penalty: we Europeans believe in justice, not revenge, and we continue to work for the abolition of the capital punishment worldwide – together with civil society and engaging with the countries that still resort to it....
Back from Jordan. Shared region, common destiny

Back from Jordan. Shared region, common destiny

I write on my way back from Jordan – a country that, in difficult times for the Middle East, is always a point of reference for its wisdom, its balance, and its capacity to mediate. For this reason, the European Union will continue to do all it can to support Jordan. With King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi we discussed the tensions in Israel and Palestine, the war in Syria, but also our cooperation to strengthen the Jordanian economy and support the communities that have welcomed millions of Syrian refugees through the years. In the last three years we have financed projects worth a billion euros in the fields of education, water, energy, and in support of business. Yesterday I announced an extra 20 million euros to address the needs of Jordanians who are particularly vulnerable, and we are ready to unblock the second 100-million tranche of our macro-financial assistance. Here is the press conference with Safadi. The European Union’s support is crucial also to help entire generations of Syrians and Jordanians, who will soon be called to play their part for the future of their countries. Yesterday I met 145 of these young Syrians and Jordanians, who graduated at the German Jordanian University in Madaba thanks to the European Union’s economic support. This is also an investment in our own future, as we all share the same region. Here is my speech at the graduation ceremony. This is the logic that shapes the European Union’s relationship with Africa, too. At the European Development Days in Brussels, last week, I met with the current chair of the African Union,...