Cooperation is the key word for the European Union

Cooperation is the key word for the European Union

I write at the end of a week I spent in Ethiopia, in Brussels and Munich – a week at work on Africa and with Africa, and on our common security. The summit of heads of State and government of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, was the opportunity to discuss our common work on sustainable development, security and stability, the respect of democracy and human rights, and on a humane management of migration flows. I discussed this first of all with the representative of Ethiopian institutions: I met with President Sahle-Work Zewde, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu. Europe supports the internal reforms they have launched and these months’ dialogue between Ethiopia and Eritrea – which, after decades of conflict, is giving hope to an entire continent. I talked about this with journalists, here. The European Union’s presence in Ethiopia is strong, including in support of those people who went back home after they had undertaken a difficult travel to seek a better future. I met some of them in a centre managed – with European support – by the International Organisation for Migration, together with Director General Antonio Vitorino. These young men and women – some of them are still children – are taking trainings and will receive a small financial help, to let them go back to school or start a new business. Here is the video. I discussed the strategic relationship between Europe and African with the African Union’s President Moussa Faki, with ​the President of Burkina Faso, Rich Marc Kabore; the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archangel Touadera; the President of...
Europe and the United States, natural partners beyond disagreements

Europe and the United States, natural partners beyond disagreements

I write after a week spent in Boston, Brussels and Milan. First, at Harvard University for a day of discussions with students and professor on relations between the United States and Europe: in spite of the current disagreements on specific issues, we remain natural partners. Here is my speech in Harvard and the first part of my dialogue with students and professors. Back to Brussels, our common work with our friends on the other side of the Atlantic continued at the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting. We focused mostly on our cooperation with our partners in the Balkans, on Afghanistan and the situation in the Sea of Azov. This is what I told journalists before the meeting. Our work on European defence and on strategic autonomy was at the centre of the EU Institute for Security Studies’ annual conference – here is my video message to the event. We also discussed tensions between Russia and Ukraine on Thursday at the meeting of the Organisation for security and cooperation in Europe, hosted by Italy in Milan. There I met with both Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who will be our guest at the Foreign Affairs Council next Monday. Here is my speech in Milan. On Wednesday, at the weekly meeting of the College of European Commissioners, we took three important decisions: we approved the proposal for an agreement on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, a new plan against disinformation campaigns, and a strategy on the new frontiers in the field of artificial intelligence. During the week, in Brussels, I also met with Libyan President Fayez al Sarraj, Armenian...
A Vienna, per salvare l’accordo con l’Iran

A Vienna, per salvare l’accordo con l’Iran

Scrivo di ritorno da Vienna, dove ho riunito per la prima volta a livello ministeriale la Commissione che sovrintende al rispetto dell’accordo nucleare con l’Iran. Insieme con i ministri degli Esteri dell’Iran Javad Zarif, della Francia Jean-Yves Le Drian, della Germania Heiko Maas, della Russia Sergei Lavrov, della Cina Wang Yi e al sottosegretario britannico Alistair Burt, abbiamo discusso di un pacchetto corposo di misure per preservare l’accordo, dopo la decisione degli Stati Uniti di ritirarsi unilateralmente dall’intesa. Oltre ad avere ribadito la scelta politica di continuare ad attuare l’accordo, di interesse strategico per la sicurezza dell’Unione europea e del mondo, abbiamo concordato le nostre linee di azione per mantenere le esportazioni di petrolio e gas dall’Iran, tenere aperti i canali finanziari così come i rapporti commerciali, e per sostenere gli imprenditori, soprattutto piccoli e medi, che investono in Iran. Qui il testo che abbiamo adottato nel corso della ministeriale e che ho letto alla stampa al termine della riunione. Prima di presiedere la Commissione, ho avuto un lungo colloquio con Zarif per discutere dello stato di attuazione dell’accordo che, secondo l’Agenzia atomica dell’Onu (Aiea), l’Iran sta pienamente rispettando. La riunione è stata anche l’occasione di incontri bilaterali con il ministro russo Sergei Lavrov, con cui abbiamo parlato anche di Ucraina, Siria e Balcani, e con il ministro degli Esteri e consigliere di Stato cinese Wang Yi, con il quale abbiamo fatto un punto sui nostri rapporti bilaterali, in vista del summit tra Unione europea e Cina di metà luglio. La settimana era cominciata a Roma, dove ho visitato il quartiere generale di Operazione Sophia, l’operazione militare europea nel...
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...
Back from Iran and South-East Asia

Back from Iran and South-East Asia

I write after coming back from a visit to Asia, touching down in Teheran and then in Manila. In Iran I attended the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani’s second term, in my capacity as chair of the Joint Commission overlooking and guaranteeing the full implementation of the deal on Iran’s nuclear program. It was an opportunity to talk again to Rouhani, to Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and to the Supreme Leader’s foreign policy advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, in a moment when it is essential that all parties restate their determination to fully implement the deal (here is the press release on my visit to Iran). This is what I also discussed with the Foreign Ministers of three countries that signed the Iran deal two years ago, who were in Manila this week for the ASEAN Regional Forum: Rex Tillerson for the United States, Sergei Lavrov for the Russian Federation, and Wang Yi for China. With them, as well as with Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, we also discussed our bilateral ties, and our common engagement on some of today’s international priorities, from Syria to the Middle East, from Libya to Ukraine. Here is the press release. With them and with more Asian partners – starting with the Republic of Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha – we discussed the situation with North Korea and a common response to avoid a dangerous escalation. Here is the press release. In Manila I also chaired the ministerial meeting between the European Union and ASEAN, in the fortieth anniversary of our relations (here is my speech at the anniversary’s celebrations, here the opening session of our ministerial). Together we agreed on the shared initiatives we will push forward over the...