Between Lebanon and the Balkans. And a message to our EU missions

Between Lebanon and the Balkans. And a message to our EU missions

This week I went back to Lebanon, for the first international visit since Prime Minister Saad Hariri returned to Beirut. I carried with me a message of strong support to Lebanon, to the country’s autonomy and independence, to its institutions and its citizens. This is what I discussed with President Michel Aoun, with Hariri, with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and the speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, together with the situation in Jerusalem and the war in Syria. Here is what I told journalists after my meeting with Bassil, here is the press conference with Hariri. On Monday evening, in Brussels, I hosted the prime ministers of our six partners in the Balkans. 2018 will be a crucial year for their path towards the European Union: it is the opportunity to make this path irreversible, pushing forward those reforms – from justice to the economy – that their citizens are asking for. Here is the press release on our meeting. On Monday, on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year greetings, I also met via video conference our sixteen military and civilian missions – men and women who serve far from home, but contribute directly to the security of all...

Federica Mogherini hosted a working dinner with the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, hosted tonight an informal gathering with the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans to discuss the situation in the region and in particular the opportunities to advance the region’s European Union integration in 2018. Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama, Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdić, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković and Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić reiterated their full commitment to continuing to work for the European Union integration process. As clearly confirmed this year, including by the European Council in March and by President Juncker in his September State of the Union address, 2018 will provide a unique opportunity for the region to make irreversible steps forward in its EU integration, provided that the utmost priority is given to the necessary reforms, in particular on rule of law, justice and fundamental rights. With a renewed dynamic in the EU’s enlargement policy and a chance to make important progress throughout the region, the High Representative underlined the need for all Western Balkans partners to accelerate essential reforms to deliver on their citizens’ expectations and take concrete steps towards EU integration. The participants underlined their deep determination and interest in strengthening cooperation and good neighbourly relations and in promoting regional understanding. In this context, the importance of the ongoing discussions between Presidents Hashim Thaçi and Aleksandar Vučić to advance in the EU-facilitated dialogue for normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo was...
One week at work with the Balkans, a crucial year for the region

One week at work with the Balkans, a crucial year for the region

I write on my way to South-East Asia: to Bangladesh first, where I will visit one of the camps hosting the Rohingya refugees; then to Myanmar, for the Asia-Europe Ministerial meeting. I spent the last few days – after the historic decision to launch a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence – working with our partners from the Balkans. 2018 can be a crucial year for the whole region, on its path towards the European Union. And we want to accompany them on this path with a new European Union’s strategy for the Balkans, which we will set up in February. All our partners have taken significant steps forward – steps they can now consolidate, making their progress towards the European Union irreversible. Skopje, for instance, managed to end a long political crisis and is now carrying forward important reforms. On Tuesday I met with Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov – here is the press release. On Wednesday I chaired the Stabilisation and Association Council with Albania, together with Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati. Tirana has launched some crucial reforms on justice, on the fight against corruption, organised crime and drugs trafficking. And on all foreign policy issues, the European Union and Albania are 100% on the same page. Also for these reasons, I confirmed our determination to move forward Albania’s integration process – here is the press conference after the Council. On Thursday I chaired the Stabilisation and Association Council with Serbia, together with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic. With her and with President Aleksandar Vučić, the day before, I had discussed Serbia’s progress towards the European Union: the Serbian government is showing the political...
Maastricht, the Balkans, Africa

Maastricht, the Balkans, Africa

I write after a week spent mostly in Brussels, working on Africa, on the Balkans and the future of the European Union. On Thursday I celebrated twenty-five years since the Treaty of Maastricht, in the very hall where it was signed, with university students from all around Europe. In Maastricht we stopped being just a free trade area, and became a Union. From that moment on, we are not only customers, but citizens – with plenty of rights but also with the responsibility to always contribute to making our Union work. Here is the video of my speech. The Treaty of Maastricht spoke about “ending the divisions of the European continent:” not just a dream, but a concrete goal. And our continent will not be truly united until all our partners in the Balkans are not part of the European Union. This week we have continued to work for all our six partners to take irreversible steps on their path towards the European Union. On Friday I met with the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Behgjet Pacolli: here is the press release. Over the week we also had two meetings and one important achievement on Africa. On Wednesday I opened the “Africa week” organised by the group of the Socialists and Democrats at the European Parliament. The hashtag for the event, #withAfrica, perfectly sums up the transition we are working on, from a donor-recipient mentality to a full partnership between the European Union and Africa. Here is my speech. With the same spirit, this week our new European External Investment Plan has become reality: a program to help European firms – including small and medium enterprises –...
At the United Nations’ General Assembly

At the United Nations’ General Assembly

I write after coming back from New York, where just like every year I took part in the the United Nations’ General Assembly ministerial week. It is a moment to show the European Union’s practical support to the multilateral system and the United Nations – the essential pivot towards peaceful solutions to today’s crises. It was an intense week, difficult at times, with many important achievements but also some tough moments. Starting with the tensions between the United States and Iran. Defending Iran deal On Wednesday night I chaired the meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Iran and the six countries that, two years ago, negotiated the deal on Iran’s nuclear program – the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and the UK. Together we confirmed that Iran is fulfilling the agreements, as the International Atomic Energy Agency certified eight times. It is up to the IAEA to verify that all nuclear commitments are being implemented: this is what the deal states, together with a Resolution by the UN Security Council. For this reason, the deal belongs to the whole world, not just to one or two countries, and the European Union will do everything in our power to guarantee the deal is fully implemented by all. This is the message I delivered in my meetings with the Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. Here is my press conference on Iran, here my interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. For global non-proliferation In a moment when tension with North Korea continue, it would make no sense to dismantle a non-proliferation deal that is working...