Ups and downs at the European Council

Ups and downs at the European Council

I write at the end of an uphill and complicated European Council; it was marked by difficulties and divisions among Member States on matters that are much more linked to their domestic dynamics than to a common European horizon. Our major disappointment was the impossibility to agree on the trade deal with Canada – the best trade deal we have ever negotiated, with very high standards: Canada is a country that shares our values and our outlook on international, commercial, economic and social policies. The lack of agreement among Member States is blocking a deal that has been reached thanks to so much hard work, and would be beneficial to the whole Union: this is upsetting, and sad. The discussion on our foreign policy choices went in a completely different way. Yesterday afternoon I presented the Heads of State and Government with the first results of our migration compacts with five African countries. We all agree that we are finally on the right track: we work together with our partners, investing in their strength and in our cooperation. And in December we are going to discuss the possibility to extend the same approach to more countries. Our work goes on also on the European External Investment Plan, which has to become fully operational as soon as possible. Here are the Council conclusions on migration. We also had a very long discussion on the situation in Aleppo and in the whole of Syria. It is crucial to allow humanitarian aid to reach all besieged areas, trying to extend the current ceasefire. The Twenty-eight have supported clearly and unanimously the two proposals I put forward over the last few weeks:...
UN General Assembly, day 4: between Syria and Palestine, Afghanistan and the Balkans

UN General Assembly, day 4: between Syria and Palestine, Afghanistan and the Balkans

I write after another full day at the United Nations, in a General Assembly that is dealing with the great global issue of migrants and refugees, while working to address the crises that surround Europe. Starting with Syria. Today another meeting of the International Syria Support Group is in the agenda, and yesterday we worked to prepare the event. I spoke at length about Syria with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov (here is my statement on the meeting), and with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif. With him I also prepared the ministerial meeting I will chair today, to take stock of the implementation of the nuclear deal we reached a year ago together with the US, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany (here is the statement). The most ancient outstanding issue of the Middle East, the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, was at the centre of a long meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In the coming days we will gather the Middle East Quartet – where the European Union sits together with the United Nations, the United States and Russia – to shake life back into the two-State perspective, and to encourage concrete steps in this direction. Then Afghanistan, which is still struggling to find stability after decades of war. Afghanistan will be the focus of a big conference we are organising in Brussels in the first days of October: this is what I discussed yesterday with Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani. But the UN General Assembly is also the opportunity to tackle great global issues – such as the fight against terrorism and radicalisation, which we discussed at the...

Federica Mogherini meets with Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, met with Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly Ministerial Week in New York today. They had an in-depth discussion focusing mainly on the crisis in Syria, in light of the latest developments and following the meeting of UN Security Council, as well as in preparation of the ministerial meeting of the International Syria Support Group that will reconvene tomorrow. The High Representative and the Minister also discussed the situation in Libya ahead of tomorrow’s ministerial meeting, as well as the Middle East Peace Process and the work of the Quartet in light of its meeting later this week. They also exchanged views on the implementation of Minsk agreements. Finally, they touched upon the bilateral EU-Russia...