A visit to Kyiv. Then at work on Syria and the Middle East

A visit to Kyiv. Then at work on Syria and the Middle East

I write at the end of a week I’ve spent in Kyiv, Strasbourg and Rome. First in Ukraine, last Sunday and Monday, to talk about the reforms the government has launched in the last years and about the war in the eastern part of the country. Today the European Union and Ukraine are closer than ever, but there is still a lot to do to tackle the issues that the people of Ukraine care the most about – starting with the fight against corruption. This is what I discussed with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, with Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, but also with civil society representatives and a group of students at Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv – here is our conversation. The situation in Donbass and Crimea was at the core of my meetings with the Minister for temporarily occupied territories Vadym Chernysh, with the head of the OSCE monitoring mission in Donbass, with the OSCE representative to the Trilateral contact group and with the International Red Cross. We will discuss the situation in Ukraine also in our Foreign Affairs Council next Monday – here is our declaration confirming our non-recognition policy on the illegal annexation of Crimea, on the annexation’s fourth anniversary. From Eastern Europe to the Middle East: I dedicated the second part of the week mostly to the situation in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. On Tuesday I was in Strasbourg for the European Parliament’s plenary: we discussed the situation in Eastern Ghouta and Afrin, and the work we are doing not onky to bring some relief to the Syrian people, but also to restart the peace talks in Geneva. Here is my speech in the plenary and the Q&A...
For a more secure, more autonomous and stronger Europe

For a more secure, more autonomous and stronger Europe

This week marked a historic moment for European integration. Last Tuesday, for the first time in our history, we gathered a Council of Ministers in the Permanent Structured Cooperation format: with 25 Defence Ministers, we agreed on the first seventeen projects for common European defence, and on a roadmap to move towards closer cooperation on research and development. We want to make Europe more secure, more autonomous and to strengthen our defence industry. On the same day, with Defence Ministers from all 28 Member States, we met with NATO deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, to push our cooperation even further: EU and NATO have never worked so closely, with 74 common projects already in place. We also discussed all 16 European military and civilian missions. Here is my press conference after the Council. The push for European defence and our ever stronger commitment on global challenges – starting with migration – are at the core of a new documentary film, Europe at Sea. Director Annalisa Piras followed our daily work for two years, and the movie was presented last Friday in Brussels. You can watch it here. The movie catches the gist of our daily work – that is, to always seek opportunities for cooperation. Cooperation among our Member States, with our global partners, with multilateral organisations. Such as the Organisation for security and cooperation in Europe: last Monday I met their Secretary General, Thomas Greminger, to discuss the open crises on our continent – starting with Ukraine. I will be in Kyiv today and tomorrow, in a delicate moment for the country – for the search of a solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and...