Solidarity for Venezuelans and for those who welcome them

Solidarity for Venezuelans and for those who welcome them

I write at the end of a week that has been mostly dedicated to the situation in Venezuela. On Monday and Tuesday we hosted in Brussels an International Solidarity Conference for those who fled Venezuela and their host communities. We welcomed 120 delegations – national governments, international organisations and civil society – which pledged 120 million euros in support. This adds to 320 million euros already mobilised by the European Union since 2016. And this is only the beginning of a new solidarity path, which will continue in the coming months with more conferences like this. Here is my opening speech, here is the final press conference. And here is the statement by the International Contact Group on Venezuela, to call on the Venezuelan actors to return to a path that can lead towards a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis. Last Tuesday, I also gathered in Brussels the leaders of our six partners in the Western Balkans. Postponing the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia on their accession to the European Union was a historic mistake (I wrote about it here). And yet, on Tuesday we all agreed that we must keep working to realise the Western Balkans’ EU prospective. Press release here. Here is my statement on the inaugural meeting of the Committee that should write the new Syrian...
Two important decisions, one historic mistake

Two important decisions, one historic mistake

I write after a difficult European Council: the heads of State and government have postponed the decision to open negotiations for Albania’s and North Macedonia’s accession to the European Union, in spite of the extraordinary progress achieved by both countries and against the European Commission’s advice. It is much more than a lost opportunity: it is a historic mistake, which I hope can be amended as soon as possible. The Council has also taken two important decisions: it approved the new agreement with London on the UK’s exit from the European Union; and it confirmed the decisions we had adopted on Monday with the Foreign Ministers on Turkey’s military intervention in Syria. Our response to Ankara’s attack against Syrian Kurds has been strong and united. Not only have we condemned the invasion: we have also decided that Member States will stop selling arms to Turkey – each of them respecting their national legislations – and we have adopted economic sanctions to respond to Turkey’s activities off the cost of Cyprus. Here is the press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, and here is what I told journalists at the beginning of the day. Last week, at the European Parliament, I had already clarified another point: if Turkey decided to transfer hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in a so-called “safe zone” in north-east Syria, to replace the local population, we would never give our financial support to such operation. Here is my speech in the Parliament. On the day when the US withdrawal from north-east Syria was announced I was in Jordan, where I met King Abdullah, Crown Prince...