United and determined

United and determined

I write after coming back from Tallinn, where I chaired the meeting of the European Union’s Foreign and Defence Ministers – at the end of a difficult week of international tensions, after the latest North Korean nuclear test. We managed to respond to these tensions with unity and determination, and with some important decisions – which I explain here. With the Foreign Minister we addressed the crisis in Venezuela, with a commitment to keep on with our contacts to help bring the crisis to an end – particularly our contacts with Latin-American partners. We also discussed the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and decided to start a review of the modalities of our engagement on the ground: we do not want to reduce our engagement, but on the contrary to make it more effective towards the only realistic goal to end the conflict, that is, a two-state solution. Another important point on our agenda, which we discussed with the Ministers of the five candidate countries to EU membership: the prevention of radicalisation and the fight against terrorism. Here is the press conference after the Foreign Ministers’ meeting, and here is my discussion with members of Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees from all around Europe to discuss the priorities of our common foreign and security policy. Because in Tallinn, over the last two days, we also carried on our work on the European common security and defence. First, with an exercise on cyber-security, together (for the first time) with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; and then with some important decisions on strengthening our common European commitment in two essential regions for us: the Sahel and the Horn of...

Speech at the Hessian Peace Prize award ceremony

Check against delivery I would like to start by thanking you, Mr President [Mr Norbert Kartmann, President of the Hessian Parliament], Madam Minister [Ms Lucia Puttrich, Minister of European and Federal Affairs of the State of Hessen], all of you for your kind words, but most of all for this honour. I am also very thankful that you have come to Brussels for this ceremony – as you have highlighted this is the first time that this happens and I am very much aware of the fact that it does is not only a courtesy to myself, which I appreciate, but I know that this is first and foremost a tribute to the European Union, as you said Madam Minister, as a force for peace in our very difficult times. Two years after the deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] was signed, we see and we breathe a very different atmosphere in global affairs and in these days receiving this prize is quite significant. It is not always easy to find or to build the same spirit of collective responsibility that made the Iran deal possible. The work to achieve win-win solutions requires patience, perseverance, as you said, sometimes even stubbornness and a lot, a lot of strength. Many are tempted in these times to seek unilateral action, shortcut. Everyone seems to want to show their strength, instead of showing their wisdom. As if they were not the same. As if wisdom was not the biggest strength you can show, the most difficult to achieve, the most difficult to preserve and also the most difficult to share....
An indispensable Union, for Europeans and for the world

An indispensable Union, for Europeans and for the world

I write from Brussels, in a day when European institutions open their doors to citizens. It is a good way to remind that the European Union belongs to all Europeans – as a protection in the globalised world, a guarantor of rights, an opportunity of peace and economic growth. Yesterday I was in Florence instead, at the annual “State of the Union” conference organised by the European University Institute. I answered questions from Roula Khalaf from the Financial Times, telling her what all our global partners tell me every day: there is a great need for a strong European Union, an ever more indispensable power in our difficult international environment. Here is the video of the conference. Over the week I have met many of our partners, here in Brussels, starting with our neighbours in the Mediterranean. On Tuesday I inaugurated the European Parliament’s Tunisia week, together with President Antonio Tajani and the President of the Tunisian Parliament Mohamed Ennaceur. I said once again that Tunisia is not only a fundamental country for our region’s stability, but also a hope for democracy in tough times. This is also why Tunisia – and its youth people, in particular – can always count on our support. Here is my speech (in French). During these days we also worked on Libya: yesterday I spoke to Prime Minister Fayez Al Serraj and the Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed, to discuss Serraj’s meeting with Khalifa Haftar. Here is the press release. On Thursday I chaired the annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of donors for Palestine. Together with the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Russians and the Americans, the United...
UN General Assembly, day 2: At the Summit on migrations and the Clinton Global Initiative

UN General Assembly, day 2: At the Summit on migrations and the Clinton Global Initiative

The great migrations the world is experiencing – the whole world, not just Europe – have been the common thread of this second day at the United Nations. In the morning, in the General Assembly’s hall, the summit on refugees and migrants has kicked off. The aim is to build a global alliance, a global compact to share responsibility. It is a matter of solidarity – and of foresight, because this complex and global phenomenon can only be dealt with through real global partnerships. It is a principle we are trying hard to pass inside Europe, with too much resistance from too many parts of our continent. The same principle we are also applying in full in our external policies on migration, in particular with Africa and the countries of origin of migrants. We rely on shared responsibilities and cooperation, not simply among countries but with all sectors of our societies. For this reason, the European Union is working to set up new “migration compacts”, packages of measures agreed with five African countries. And for this reason we launched just a few days ago an Investment plan for Africa and the Mediterranean, to mobilise some 44 billion euros – an unprecedented initiative. I had the opportunity to describe all the European Union is doing during a morning debate with Madeleine Albright, Bono Vox, General John Allen and the Nigerian Environment Minister Amina Mohammed. The debate was organised by the Clinton Foundation in the margins of the UN General Assembly: here is the video of the initiative. Later on, inside the EU Delegation here in New York, we gathered ministers, NGOs, civil society representatives from...