Between Lebanon and the Balkans. And a message to our EU missions

Between Lebanon and the Balkans. And a message to our EU missions

This week I went back to Lebanon, for the first international visit since Prime Minister Saad Hariri returned to Beirut. I carried with me a message of strong support to Lebanon, to the country’s autonomy and independence, to its institutions and its citizens. This is what I discussed with President Michel Aoun, with Hariri, with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and the speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, together with the situation in Jerusalem and the war in Syria. Here is what I told journalists after my meeting with Bassil, here is the press conference with Hariri. On Monday evening, in Brussels, I hosted the prime ministers of our six partners in the Balkans. 2018 will be a crucial year for their path towards the European Union: it is the opportunity to make this path irreversible, pushing forward those reforms – from justice to the economy – that their citizens are asking for. Here is the press release on our meeting. On Monday, on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year greetings, I also met via video conference our sixteen military and civilian missions – men and women who serve far from home, but contribute directly to the security of all...

Federica Mogherini hosted a working dinner with the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, hosted tonight an informal gathering with the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans to discuss the situation in the region and in particular the opportunities to advance the region’s European Union integration in 2018. Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama, Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdić, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković and Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić reiterated their full commitment to continuing to work for the European Union integration process. As clearly confirmed this year, including by the European Council in March and by President Juncker in his September State of the Union address, 2018 will provide a unique opportunity for the region to make irreversible steps forward in its EU integration, provided that the utmost priority is given to the necessary reforms, in particular on rule of law, justice and fundamental rights. With a renewed dynamic in the EU’s enlargement policy and a chance to make important progress throughout the region, the High Representative underlined the need for all Western Balkans partners to accelerate essential reforms to deliver on their citizens’ expectations and take concrete steps towards EU integration. The participants underlined their deep determination and interest in strengthening cooperation and good neighbourly relations and in promoting regional understanding. In this context, the importance of the ongoing discussions between Presidents Hashim Thaçi and Aleksandar Vučić to advance in the EU-facilitated dialogue for normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo was...
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...