Syria, the UK referendum, and our European Union

Syria, the UK referendum, and our European Union

I am writing as I travel to Africa: Mozambique and South Africa. This visit goes well beyond the development aid that the European Union is providing to the continent: it designs a strategic partnership on the big global issues – from climate change to migration to the fight against poverty. Before I left I met in Brussels with the United Nation’s special envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler, and I was in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament for a meeting with members of both the EP and national Parliaments (a good chance for seeing many friends and former colleagues). We discussed Syria, the refugee crisis, and how to save the great European integration project. It is a project which we need everyday more, and which could vanish if strong political leaders do not support it with courage and resolve – both at European and national level. It is about time we understand this: when we discuss a transfer of sovereignty towards the European Union, we are in fact talking about the only way to regain our sovereignty in today’s globalised...
Among so many difficulties, small signs of hope

Among so many difficulties, small signs of hope

It has been an intense and challenging week here in Brussels. The week kicked off with the Foreign Affairs Council on Syria on Monday morning, and with some good news: Bosnia and Herzegovina has presented its application for membership in our European Union. A few weeks after the beginning of my mandate, we decided to relaunch a blocked process: after one year of great engagement with all of Bosnia’s government levels, we have reached an important first result. There is still so much work to do, but it is such good news for the Bosnian youth who dream to turn their history of war into a future of European peace. And it is good news for the whole Balkans and for the whole of us: in a moment of deep difficulties for our Union, this story tells us how attractive and precious our integration is. On Monday evening I welcomed Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, on his first first bilateral visit to the European institutions. We worked on relaunching bilateral relations between Europe and Iran after the deal on their nuclear programme, but we also discussed perspectives for the region and forms of cooperation which might improve these perspectives. Just yesterday 114 trucks of humanitarian aid reached five besieged areas of Syria, thanks to the deal we reached last week in Munich. It is a little big sign of hope, one that encourages us to keep on our difficult work towards a cessation of hostilities and to restart the negotiations in Geneva. We discussed about this in yesterday’s and today’s European Council, which is still going on and is mostly dedicated to the referendum in the UK and to our...

Meeting between Federica Mogherini and Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg

Today, the HR/VP Federica Mogherini met with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, in the margins of the Munich Security Conference 2016. They discussed recent developments on a range of issues following up their last meeting in Amsterdam one week ago. They also worked on the coordination between the EU and NATO on NATO’s recent response to the joint request by Germany, Greece and Turkey to contribute to fighting illegal trafficking within the Aegean Sea. HR/VP Mogherini informed NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg of the decision to establish an EU cell to facilitate clear coordination arrangements and ensure effective cooperation with NATO at all levels. The HR/VP underlined that the EU is ready to share with NATO the experience it has gained through Operation EUNAVFOR Med Sophia and that appropriate operational contacts will be established. They also agreed that the exchange of information and coordination with Frontex will also be essential. The HR/VP Federica Mogherini and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will stay in close and regular...