At work on Palestine and Israel, Venezuela, and the Balkans

At work on Palestine and Israel, Venezuela, and the Balkans

I write at the end of a week spent working mostly with the Balkans and on security in our region, but also on the crisis in Venezuela. The only way out of the Venezuelan crisis is a pacific and democratic solution: I repeated this together with the entire European Union (here is my declaration on behalf of the Twenty-Eight) and with the International Contact Group that we have created and we are gathering tomorrow in Costa Rica (press release here). My week started in Berlin, at the summit organised by France and Germany on the Balkans’ future. It was mainly an opportunity to meet – together and bilaterally – the leaders of all six our Balkan partners: Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, the President of Montenegro Milo Đukanovic, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the Prime Ministers of Albania Edi Rama and of Bosnia Denis Zvizdic. Then on Tuesday, together with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide, we gathered in Brussels the group of international donors for Palestine (the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee). We discussed how to overcome the current financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority and preserve the two-state solution, for peace and security in the Middle East. Here is the press conference, and here is my statement on the new Gaza escalation. For us, Europeans, this is also about security in our region. The same is true for the nuclear deal with Iran: for three years, it has contributed to avoiding a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and also for this reason it must be...
At the final European Parliament’s plenary before the election

At the final European Parliament’s plenary before the election

I write coming back from Strasbourg, after the last European Parliament’s plenary session before next month’s election. We dealt with some of the most urgent crises in our region – particularly those in Libya and in Sudan, but also the situation in the Golan Heights and in the West Bank. On Tuesday I presented our new strategy for the partnership between Europe and Latin America, after years when our relations have been more intense than ever. And on Thursday we worked on the human rights’ situation in China, in Brunei and in Cameroon. But this plenary was also the opportunity to thank the Members of the European Parliament after five years of common work and to take stock – of our successes and our difficulties, with some lessons learnt for the future. Here is the discussion on our legacy that I had with the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees. The week before was dedicated mostly to the new military escalation in Libya, in touch with Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj and the UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame. We discussed Libya at length on Monday 8th in Luxembourg, with the Foreign Ministers of the European Union. All of us shared the same preoccupation for the consequences that the civilian population is suffering because of the offensive launched by General Khalifa Haftar and his troops. We also appealed to foreign actors to stop interfering, and to the parties to halt the fighting, accept the humanitarian ceasefire proposed by the UN and restart the UN-led dialogue. This is the message we sent both at the Foreign Affairs Council (press conference here) and again on Thursday 11th in our EU Declaration....