Together for the Sahel, and for our common security

Together for the Sahel, and for our common security

Today I am writing from Brussels, after an important day working on Sahel – a crucial region at the gates of Europe. The five Sahel countries – Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso –have decided to join forces to address challenges that none of them could have faced alone: terrorism, the trafficking of arms, drugs and human beings, the creation of good jobs for their youth. The European Union has accompanied this process since the very beginning, with constant political support to the “G5 Sahel”, with a military and civilian presence on the ground, with 8 billion euros for economic development in the region. Today, in Brussels, we gathered the five countries’ Presidents, the European Union’s heads of State and government, the President of the African Union, the United Nations and tens of international delegations at ministerial level. Together we mobilised new international support to the joint military force of the G5 Sahel, to fight terrorism, international crime and traffickers in the Sahel. We gathered more resources than expected: over 400 million euros, so that our partners’ joint force can be fully operational from next month. This is what I told journalists at the beginning of the day, and here is the press conference at the end of the meeting. The conference was also the opportunity to meet bilaterally the President of the African Union’s Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir, the Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita, but also with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Some other important things from this week, first of all our work for Syria: on Monday I met again with...
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...
Our Union, a force for peace

Our Union, a force for peace

I write after coming back from Dubrovnick, Croatia, where I took part – together with our partners in the Balkans – to the summit of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process. It was the first time for a High Representative at this meeting, and it was an opportunity to say once again that the future of the European Union will not be at 27: the Balkans’ path towards EU membership goes on (here is what I told journalists at the summit). Tomorrow, in Brussels, I will host the Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hasim Thaci, to push forward the dialogue and the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina (here is the press release). The European Union was originally a peace project, and we continue to put peace at the core of our action. Last Wednesday I was in Crans Montana, in Switzerland, for the beginning of a new round of talks on Cyprus’ reunification. It is a historic opportunity to end a conflict that has lasted for over forty years, and the European Union is ready to do all it can to help the two communities reach a deal (press release here). More on peace. This week we had good news from Colombia: the FARC have finally laid down their arms, putting an end – after the deal signed with President Juan Manuel Santos – to a half-a-century-long conflict. My statement is here. Four other important things that happened this week. On Thursday I was in Tallinn, for the beginning of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union. Over the next six months we will focus particularly on our partners in Eastern Europe, on migration,...