Two intense days between Albania, France and Morocco

Two intense days between Albania, France and Morocco

I spent the last two days in Tirana, Paris and Rabat. The trip started on Thursday in Albania: there I addressed the Parliament on the future of the country’s relations with Europe, which very much depends on the ability of Albanian institutions to pass deep reforms – starting with judicial reform. These reforms are not for Brussels’ sake, but for the citizens of Albania. This is what I discussed with president Bujar Nishani, prime minister Edi Rama, foreign minister Ditmir Bushati, the speaker of the Parliament Ilir Meta and members of the opposition.  Albania’s success could be a success for the entire European Union, because our need for cooperation grows by the day: on security and terrorism, on preventing radicalisation, stabilising the Balkans, managing the flows of refugees who are fleeing from the war in Syria. And Syria was the core of yesterday’s meeting with the foreign ministers of France Jean-Marc Ayrault, of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Philip Hammond of the UK. We discussed how best to help those Syrians who are staying in the country, as we also try to strengthen the political process mediated by the UN. The European Union in Syria’s largest donor, together with Member States we have pledged millions of euros to help Syrians. But we also have a fundamental political role in facilitating the peace process. The current truce must hold, and the dialogue initiated in Geneva must restart. We talked about this with the Syrian opposition’s chief negotiator, Riyad Hijab, who joined us during part of our meeting and whom I also met at length one-to-one. The truce is far from perfect, the delivery of humanitarian aid is difficult, the political process is fragile. But for the first time in five years,...
More aid to Syria. But only the political process can end the war

More aid to Syria. But only the political process can end the war

I am writing from London today, at the “Supporting Syria and the region” conference – my third stop in a full week of meetings the Syrian crisis. After the most recent events, we must all keep in mind that there is no military solution to the war. A military victory of one side is just an illusion. The only way to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people is through the political process initiated in Geneva. Just a short quote from my speech. The full text is here, the video here. Today the European Union pledges €2.4 billion of EU budget alone for 2016 and 2017. This is more than twice of what we pledged at the last conference in Kuwait, and this is only from the EU budget. On top of that come the national interventions. But let me say that money alone will not make it. You know it better than me. If you have the money, you have the humanitarian aid, but you do not have access and we do not have a political horizon, we will meet here again next year with more money and no solution. Tomorrow I will head to Amsterdam, again, for the informal meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs and...

Remarks by Federica Mogherini at the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’ conference

Thank you, I would like to thank all those humanitarian workers who are making the difference every single day. And I believe if we are here today it is because we feel we share a responsibility and a duty. I would say a duty. A duty to focus today and tomorrow – when the conference will be over – on the people of Syria. We see the numbers, we talk of geopolitics, but we often forget the names, the faces of the persons whose lives are at stake. And let me say that sometimes, we Europeans, do that. If we focus on them, each and every one of them then, maybe, it will be a bit easier to help a little bit to make the right things, to take the right decisions. And we all have difficult decisions to make, in order to be consistent and honour our responsibilities on both tracks we have in front of us: the humanitarian one – and I will come to that – and the fragile, difficult, very difficult but still existent political process, built with patience and courage in Vienna, in New York, in Geneva, and next week in Munich. Let me also say very clearly, as I see him sitting here, that mentioning the name of Staffan de Mistura and thanking him is not enough. We need to empower him and create the conditions for his work to succeed. This is our responsibility. And let me also say very clearly that those who still believe that there can be a military solution to this war should wake up, should simply wake...

A window of opportunity for Syria. Speech at the European Parliament

Mr President, Honourable Members, In Syria we face the biggest humanitarian tragedy in our region since World War II. 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced – and if the fighting rages on, these could be the refugees of tomorrow. Around 400 000 Syrians have no access to humanitarian aid, especially in areas that are besieged. We have reached a staggering level of 4.6 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, with chances being high that this number will continue to grow due to intense fighting on the ground. Starvation inside Syria is used as means of warfare, against the weakest and most vulnerable people on the ground – in particular women and children. The Syrian government has now granted humanitarian access in Madaya, but this is far from being enough. In other ongoing sieges people have been trapped for months, unable to exit, with no access to food, no access to medication, no access to basic services. They need our help. Several local ceasefires reached in recent months are a reason to hope, for example in Waer neighbourhood of Homs. Still, this stopped far short: the goal of a nation-wide ceasefire between government and opposition remains urgent. The bombings and targeting of civilian areas and structures like hospitals and schools, in particular by the Syrian regime and its allies, is unacceptable. This is why it is crucial that in parallel with the political process we call on all parties to cease all attacks and bombing of civilian targets, put an end to sieges of civilian areas and fully respect the international humanitarian law. It would be a disaster if, as...

Federica Mogherini met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, had today a bilateral meeting with the Russians Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the margins of the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade. High Representative Mogherini and Minister Lavrov exchanged views on the Syrian crisis, on the need to preserve the process started in Vienna and deliver concrete results soon. In this respect, they discussed the next steps of the process and in particular the work that needs to be done on the list of terrorist groups and on the opposition interlocutors for the dialogue with the regime that has to be launched by the United Nations Special Envoy, according to the roadmap agreed in Vienna. The High Representative and the Russian Foreign Minister discussed also the global threat posed by Da’esh and the urgency of international and regional cooperation also on the Libyan crisis, with a particular view to reach an internal agreement on a Government of National Accord. Federica Mogherini underlined the importance of gathering all relevant regional and intentional actors to support the need of an agreement and UN-defined roadmap. In this respect, the conference that will take place in Rome on 13 December will be a great chance to show real international and regional commitment for a political solution. They agreed to work together in this respect. During their conversation, the High Representative and the Russian Foreign Minister agreed on the need to restarts the Middle East Peace Process and on the importance of the work of the Quartet in this context. They discussed at length the situation in eastern Ukraine...