Towards a Europe of defence

I write after coming back from Bulgaria, where I chaired an informal meeting of the European Union’s Defence Ministers. We worked on some practical projects we launched to build up a Europe of defence, for the first time in our history. And we talked about peacekeeping operations with two important partners: NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Here is what I told journalists before and after the meeting.

We also discussed the new budget of the European Union, which for the first time will also deal with defence and security for our citizens. Last Wednesday we put forward, as European Commission, our proposal for a budget with important innovations – for instance, we propose to double the funds for the Erasmus programme. Here is our proposal.

Last week had begun in Cairo, with a meeting of the Quartet for Libya – together with the Arab League, the African Union and the United Nations. Here is the press conference in Cairo.

From Cairo I also commented on the presentation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran: I repeated that the deal with Iran is based on a strong monitoring mechanism by the International Atomic Energy Agency – it is not based on trust between the parties. And every inspection by the IAEA has certified that the deal is being implemented. Here is my answer to journalists on Iran.

A few other important things from last week. On Thursday I chaired the Association Council with Moldova – here is the press conference after the Council.

On Wednesday I took the floor in the European Parliament to debate the political crisis in Venezuela – here is my speech.

Then a meeting with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire (press release here) and a phone call with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, in a delicate moment for the country (press release).

On Wednesday I also took part in the “Laeken Dialogue” organised by Asia society and the Belgian Royals.