Five important issues, and one memory

Five important issues, and one memory

I write after a week spent travelling between Brussels, Trieste and Paris, working on five important issues for security and growth in our continent: the Balkans, the Sahel, our common defence, our relations with Russia, and the Mediterranean. First, our relations with the Balkans. In Trieste we met with the leaders of our six Balkan partners that are not yet part of the European Union. Together we launched a clear message: the door of the European Union is open to the Balkans, and the path towards a unified Europe continues. But we also worked on some practical projects for regional cooperation, to improve transports and increase exchanges in the Balkans. Here is what I told journalists after the summit. And here is the press conference after last Monday’s Stabilisation and Association Council with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Trieste Summit was also the opportunity for a long conversation with Emmanuel Macron, on the Balkans and on Africa, on the situation in the Gulf and on European defence (here is the press release). I kept working with him on Thursday, in Paris, together with Angela Merkel. The President and the Chancellor were meeting for the Franco-German Ministerial Council, and together we launched a new Alliance for growth and security in the Sahel. Here is the document we signed together. In Paris I also met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and with the Ministers of Defence of France, Germany, Italy and Spain – Florence Parly, Ursula Von Der Leyen, Roberta Pinotti and Dolores Cospedal. Here is the press release on my meetings in Paris. On Wednesday, in Brussels, I received the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after my visit...
One year after the British referendum: a stronger European Union

One year after the British referendum: a stronger European Union

I write after a week spent in Brussels and Luxembourg: it has been exactly one year since the referendum on Brexit – which, according to many, should have marked the beginning of the end for the European Union. Not only this was not the case: today, the European Union is stronger. We have understood what we could have lost – sixty years of peace and rights – and beyond that, we have understood that the only way to “take back control” in a globalised world is together: only as Europeans can we regain sovereignty, only together can we protect and promote our interests and values. And together we have found a way to relaunch our Union. On European defence, for instance, we have achieved more in one year than in the previous decade. At the European Council last Thursday the 28 EU countries have taken historic decisions: I talked about them before the Council, here is the video. The steps forward we have taken are part of the Global Strategy for foreign and security policy I presented one year ago. Last Monday I put out the first annual report on the Strategy’s implementation: here is the video on the main results, here my foreword to the report, here is my speech at the EU Institute for Security Studies’ annual conference. Talking about security: on Monday, at the Council of Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, we adopted a set of counter-terrorism measures. Among other decisions, we agreed to expand the network of counter-terrorism experts working in the EU Delegations to third countries. I explain these decisions in this article, written together with the Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King. And here is...