Five important issues, and one memory

Five important issues, and one memory

I write after a week spent travelling between Brussels, Trieste and Paris, working on five important issues for security and growth in our continent: the Balkans, the Sahel, our common defence, our relations with Russia, and the Mediterranean. First, our relations with the Balkans. In Trieste we met with the leaders of our six Balkan partners that are not yet part of the European Union. Together we launched a clear message: the door of the European Union is open to the Balkans, and the path towards a unified Europe continues. But we also worked on some practical projects for regional cooperation, to improve transports and increase exchanges in the Balkans. Here is what I told journalists after the summit. And here is the press conference after last Monday’s Stabilisation and Association Council with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Trieste Summit was also the opportunity for a long conversation with Emmanuel Macron, on the Balkans and on Africa, on the situation in the Gulf and on European defence (here is the press release). I kept working with him on Thursday, in Paris, together with Angela Merkel. The President and the Chancellor were meeting for the Franco-German Ministerial Council, and together we launched a new Alliance for growth and security in the Sahel. Here is the document we signed together. In Paris I also met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and with the Ministers of Defence of France, Germany, Italy and Spain – Florence Parly, Ursula Von Der Leyen, Roberta Pinotti and Dolores Cospedal. Here is the press release on my meetings in Paris. On Wednesday, in Brussels, I received the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after my visit...
The European Union seen from China, India and Russia

The European Union seen from China, India and Russia

I write after a long week of official visits to China, India and today to Russia. In each of these places I found a strong willingness to strengthen and expand cooperation with the European Union: we are seen everywhere as an indispensable and reliable partner when it comes to working together on security and peace, on trade and economic cooperation, on promoting multilateralism, democracy, sustainable development and human rights. It is the strong and necessary Europe that Emmanuel Macron pointed at last night as our hope and future – joining together the European and the French flag. Voir les drapeaux de la #France et de l’#UE saluer le résultat de @emmanuelmacron, c’est l’espoir et le futur de notre génération — Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) 23 aprile 2017 Today, in Moscow, it was the first visit of an EU High Representative since 2012. I had a long meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, to discuss openly our disagreements – starting with the conflict in eastern Ukraine – but also, and constructively, the many issues where Russia and the European Union can find fertile ground for cooperation: from Syria to Libya, from the Middle East to the nuclear deal with Iran, from Afghanistan to the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, from the fight against terrorism to climate change, and our bilateral relations in many sectors. Here are the videos of my press conference with Lavrov (my opening remarks and the Q&A with journalists), here today’s interview to Interfax. In Beijing, last week, I met – among others – Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Defence Minister Chang Wanquan. With State Councillor Yang Jiechi I co-chaired the seventh EU-China Strategic Dialogue, ahead of the...

Interview to Interfax: “Return to better relations with Russia possible, linked to resolution of conflict in eastern Ukraine”

Interview to Interfax correspondents Alexander Korzun and Viktor Onuchko ahead of my visit to Russia. Read on Interfax’ website Question:Ms. Mogherini, what are you going to bring to Moscow? Can your first visit to Russia since you took office in 2014 be viewed as evidence of a softening EU position on Russia and a sign of the prompt overcoming of the crisis in bilateral relations? Does Russia remain a partner for you, or do you share the position of NATO on the need to deter Russia as a potential threat to the security of European countries? Answer: Our relations with Russia are not what they used to be, nor are they what we would wish them to be. But the European Union is still the first trading partner for the Russian Federation, the first source of foreign direct investment, and Russian students are the first beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ program to study in the EU Universities, just to mention a few areas where our ties remain important to both of us. Not to mention our cooperation on some key foreign policy issues. So, my visit to Moscow shows what for me, for the European Union, is vital: in the world of today, you need to be frank on points of disagreement, build spaces for engagement and cooperation, and seek common solutions whenever and wherever our interests converge.Our points of disagreement are well known, but our channels of communication have always remained open. Contacts at all levels are constant on all the files that are priorities for both of us: bringing an end to the devastating war in Syria, the crisis...