European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

European defence and Iran deal, the work goes on

I write at the end of a week spent in Helsinki with the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the Union. With the Defence Ministers we worked on three crucial issues for our security. For the first time ever, we discussed together how climate change is becoming a threat to our common security – to tackle natural disasters, the conflicts sparked by climate change, and too reduce the environmental impact of our defence systems. Second, we dealt again with cyber-security and how to govern the use of artificial intelligence in weapon systems, together with the tech leaders that I gathered in our Global Tech Panel. And third, we also talked about coordinating our Member States’ naval presence in crisis theatres or in areas of strategic interest for Europe – with Coordinated Maritime Presences. Finally, with the Defence and Foreign Ministers together, we talked hybrid threats and our response to them. The path towards greater European cooperation on defence continues. Here is the final press conference and here is what I told journalists before the meeting. On Thursday and Friday the work went on with Foreign Ministers. We worked on the situation in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and in the Gulf, and on how to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran – including in a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK which I called in the margins of the main meeting. We also dealt with the Arctic and the situation in Hong Kong. Then a session with our six partners in the Balkans, to discuss how to step up cooperation and integration in this crucial part...
Why I am proud of the third Brussels Conference on the future of Syria

Why I am proud of the third Brussels Conference on the future of Syria

I write after a week spent in the United States and in Brussels, for the third Conference on Syria. I am proud of three things. First of all, this year the Conference revolved around the many Syrian women and men working in civil society – who came together, in spite of their differences, with 500 NGOs engaged every day on the ground. We offered them a safe space to meet and to exchange ideas, and we brought their voice to the table of decision makers: because Syria belongs to Syrians, and the only way to end the conflict is to help them – together with the United Nations – build a democratic, inclusive, united and reconciled Syria. Here are my meetings with civil society and the women who are taking part in the negotiations, here is the press conference with the UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen. And here is my speech that opened the ministerial meeting, after we had listened together to the story of an incredible young woman from Syria, Asmaa. Second, in a moment when Syria risks to be “forgotten” and when divisions still run deep within the international community, we mobilised 8o countries and international organisations to support the political process led by the United Nations – our only hope to end the war. From Russia to the US, from Iran to Turkey, we tried to build some common ground to help the United Nations relaunch the negotiations in Geneva. Finally, we managed to gather an extraordinary amount of resources – more than six billion euros for 2019 only – in support of Syrians and their host communities, particularly in...