A historic day for the Balkans and for Europe

A historic day for the Balkans and for Europe

I write on my way back from Lake Prespa, on the border between Greece and the “Republic of North Macedonia” – as it will now be called – where I took part in the signing of a historic deal between Athens and Skopje. This deal on the “name issue” is a message of hope and peace not just for the two countries involved, but for all the Balkans and for our entire continent. It shows that diplomacy and dialogue can solve even the most difficult issues, when supported by courage and determination. This is what I said today at Lake Prespa, here is my statement on the agreement, and this is what I said on Tuesday at the European Parliament in announcing the deal. The deal between Athens and Skopje is not the only piece of good news of the week. The summit in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un demonstrates that the crises of our times can only be dealt with through diplomacy and dialogue. This is what I said on Tuesday at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, at the beginning of a debate on our work to salvage the deal with Iran – here is the video, here my statement on North Korea. And yesterday, in Afghanistan, the first ceasefire between the government and the Taliban entered into force – a sign of hope in a country at war for decades. Here is my statement. In Strasbourg we also presented, as European Commission, our proposal for the next budget of the European Union. For the first time ever, we want the budget to deal with security and defence – investing in the...
A reliable partner, from Latin America to the Far East

A reliable partner, from Latin America to the Far East

I write at the end of a long week of meetings: they testified not only our strong global ties and our constant commitment to solve the most difficult crises, but also the role recognised to the European Union as a reliable partner. This is because of the “European way” to be a global actor: we always choose cooperation and multilateralism, on all issues from security to diplomacy. The European Union has accompanied and will continue to accompany the peace process in Colombia. I talked about it with the Nobel Peace Prize, President Juan Manuel Santos. After his speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday, we met again in Brussels to discuss the difficult path that led to peace in Colombia – now a model to solve other conflicts. With courage and patience, Santos negotiated a deal that led to disarmament by the FARC and will bring long-term benefits to all the people of Colombia. Here is my conversation with Santos. And the European Union keeps supporting the negotiations led by the United Nations on Syria: this week I met again with the representatives of the Syrian opposition, press release here. The same goes for Libya. On Tuesday, in Paris, I took part in the meeting organised by Emmanuel Macron to support Libya’s stabilisation. The international community is backing the work of the United Nations: they give strength to the negotiations and represent a guarantee for all sides, in Libya just like anywhere else. I talked about this meeting at the European Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, here is the video. This is the value of multilateralism and cooperation. And for us...

Korea, Syria, Libya: three meetings on the road to peace

I write on my way to Cairo: together with the Arab League, the African Union and the United Nations I will take part in a meeting of the Libya Quartet – which we prepared last Thursday in Brussels with UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame. Last week was intense and important. First and foremost, because of the historic meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas: it was a sign that it is always possible to start walking on the road to peace, even after over sixty years of conflict, if one has the courage of dialogue and diplomacy. I wrote about this here. And here is the press release on my meeting last Wednesday with Japan’s Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno. But it was also the week of the second Brussels Conference on the future of Syria, which I chaired together with the United Nations. In Brussels we mobilised over four billion dollars for 2018, to support Syrians inside and outside their country. And even more importantly, we worked to help the United Nations relaunch the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, and find a political solution to end the war. We gave voice to the Syrian civil society: they showed us that they can leave aside their differences – political, ethnic and social – to walk on the path towards peace and reconciliation. And we brought to the same table all the regional and international actors – from Saudi Arabia to Iran, from Turkey to Russia and the United States. We decided to open the conference listening to the words of Farah, a Syrian girl who lives in a camp in Jordan and dreams to become a teacher. It...