At work for the Mediterranean, with our North African partners

At work for the Mediterranean, with our North African partners

I write at the end of a week spent working mostly on North Africa and the Mediterranean. On Tuesday I was in Strasbourg for the European Parliament’s plenary session, on the eve of a vote on the new association agreement between the European Union and Morocco. The agreement was passed with a large majority, and it will allow us to open a new phase in our relationship with a strategic partner like Morocco – a key country for North Africa’s stability. Right after the vote, I took off to Morocco – where I met with King Mohammed VI (press release here), Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani (here is what I told journalists right after the meeting), Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita (press conference here), the Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit, Economy Minister Mohamed Benchaaboun and the President of the House of Representatives Habib el Malki. From Morocco to Malta, for a meeting of the ten Western Mediterranean countries’ Foreign Ministers – five from Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Malta) and five from Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya). It is the first time that a High Representative of the European Union takes part in this “five plus five” meeting: it is the sign that Europe finally understands that peace, security and development on the other shore of the Mediterranean are crucial to peace, security and development here at home. This is my speech in Malta, with the images of a meeting with a group of young people from the ten countries, who presented us with their proposals on how to make the most out of these opportunities for regional...
For a peaceful, secure and democratic Libya

For a peaceful, secure and democratic Libya

I write at the end of a week spent in Algeria, Sicily and Brussels. Last Monday I was in Algiers, where I met with Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, and together with Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel we worked on how to contrast terrorism and on our cooperation on regional security – from Sahel to Libya. This is my speech at the beginning of our meeting and here is the final press conference. From Algeria to Sicily, for more work on Libya at the conference organised by the Italian government in Palermo. The UN envoy Ghassan Salamé is engaged in a difficult mediation among Libyan factions, to put an end to the transition, towards a truly inclusive democracy. In Palermo we worked to strengthen our political, economic and diplomatic support to Salamé’s action and to peace in Libya. Here is what I told journalists in Palermo, and here is an op-ed that I wrote (published in Italian on La Repubblica and in Arabic on Al Hayat). In Palermo I also met with Turkey’s vice-president Fuat Oktay (press release here), ahead of my visit to Turkey next week. In Ankara we will discuss the situation in the region and our bilateral relations, but also – as we always do – human rights: and on Friday we spoke up against the arrest of several academics and representatives of the Turkish civil society (press release here). Back to Brussels, I took part in a good discussion organised by the International Crisis Group on the European Union’s work as a force for peace (the video is here). Then, on Wednesday, I chaired the Association Council with Albania, together with Foreign Minister Ditmir...