One week at work with the Balkans, a crucial year for the region

One week at work with the Balkans, a crucial year for the region

I write on my way to South-East Asia: to Bangladesh first, where I will visit one of the camps hosting the Rohingya refugees; then to Myanmar, for the Asia-Europe Ministerial meeting. I spent the last few days – after the historic decision to launch a Permanent Structured Cooperation on defence – working with our partners from the Balkans. 2018 can be a crucial year for the whole region, on its path towards the European Union. And we want to accompany them on this path with a new European Union’s strategy for the Balkans, which we will set up in February. All our partners have taken significant steps forward – steps they can now consolidate, making their progress towards the European Union irreversible. Skopje, for instance, managed to end a long political crisis and is now carrying forward important reforms. On Tuesday I met with Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov – here is the press release. On Wednesday I chaired the Stabilisation and Association Council with Albania, together with Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati. Tirana has launched some crucial reforms on justice, on the fight against corruption, organised crime and drugs trafficking. And on all foreign policy issues, the European Union and Albania are 100% on the same page. Also for these reasons, I confirmed our determination to move forward Albania’s integration process – here is the press conference after the Council. On Thursday I chaired the Stabilisation and Association Council with Serbia, together with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic. With her and with President Aleksandar Vučić, the day before, I had discussed Serbia’s progress towards the European Union: the Serbian government is showing the political...
Working to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran

Working to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran

These are days of intense work to preserve the deal on Iran’s nuclear program – which is essential for the our own European security, for our region’s security, and for the global non-proliferation system. Last Friday, after talking to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and after listening to President Trump’s speech, I recalled the European Union’s full support to the deal. It is a deal that no country can “terminate” unilaterally: it is not a bilateral treaty, but a Resolution of the United Nations’ Security Council. Here is my press conference on Friday, with my remarks and the Q&A with the press. This morning I spoke to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director, Yukiya Amano: he confirmed once again that Iran is fulfilling all its commitments related to the deal, and that the IAEA continues to have full access to all sites it asks to inspect for its work of verification and monitoring. Here is what I told journalists this morning. Today in Luxembourg, together with the 28 EU Foreign Ministers, we confirmed our shared resolve to preserve the deal. For this reason, I will be in Washington at the beginning of November, meeting with members of the Administration and of Congress. Here is my press conference in Luxembourg on Iran, the Q&A with journalists and our joint statement on the deal with Iran. On the very same issue of non-proliferation, at today’s Foreign Affairs Council we also approved new European sanctions on North Korea: we want to put maximum pressure on Pyongyang and try to open the space for a mediation (here are the Council Conclusions on North Korea). I discussed North Korea, Iran and non-proliferation also at a conference on...
At the United Nations’ General Assembly

At the United Nations’ General Assembly

I write after coming back from New York, where just like every year I took part in the the United Nations’ General Assembly ministerial week. It is a moment to show the European Union’s practical support to the multilateral system and the United Nations – the essential pivot towards peaceful solutions to today’s crises. It was an intense week, difficult at times, with many important achievements but also some tough moments. Starting with the tensions between the United States and Iran. Defending Iran deal On Wednesday night I chaired the meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Iran and the six countries that, two years ago, negotiated the deal on Iran’s nuclear program – the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and the UK. Together we confirmed that Iran is fulfilling the agreements, as the International Atomic Energy Agency certified eight times. It is up to the IAEA to verify that all nuclear commitments are being implemented: this is what the deal states, together with a Resolution by the UN Security Council. For this reason, the deal belongs to the whole world, not just to one or two countries, and the European Union will do everything in our power to guarantee the deal is fully implemented by all. This is the message I delivered in my meetings with the Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov. Here is my press conference on Iran, here my interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. For global non-proliferation In a moment when tension with North Korea continue, it would make no sense to dismantle a non-proliferation deal that is working...