I write at the end of a week when we achieved two very important results. On Friday, after years of negotiations, we reached a trade agreement with the Mercosur countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is good news for European firms, but the deal goes well beyond trade: it protects workers’ rights and the environment, it creates political dialogue and multilateral cooperation. Europe and Latin America are closer than ever. This week I had discussed the deal with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, during his visit to Brussels – press release here.
On Friday we also gave an important announcement on the defence of the nucleare deal with Iran: the instrument to support legitimate trade exchanges with Iran (called INSTEX) has become operational and is processing the first transactions. Together with the three countries that set it up – France, Germany and the UK – another seven European countries will join the mechanism. On Friday we also gathered the Joint Commission that works to guarantee the deal’s implementation: press release here.
Over the week we worked a lot on European defence: on Monday I was at the European Defence Agency (here is my speech), and on Wednesday I joined the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting. Transatlantic cooperation was also at the core of my conversation at the annual Brussels Forum organised by the German Marshall Fund – here is the video.
On Friday I also met with the US Envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey, and I spoke to the UN Envoy Geir Pedersen.
This week I met some important partners for the EU. On Thursday I chaired the Association Council with Morocco – this is the press conference, which we started with a thought for the victims of the terrorist attack in Tunisia and wishing a fast recovery to President Beji Caid Essebsi. On Tuesday I hosted the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mehmood Qureshi, here is our press point. And on Friday I met with the Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
One final thing: on Tuesday I met a group of people who are working to build cooperation and dialogue in places where different religious communities live together – from Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to Indonesia. We are working to create an “Erasmus” for people like them – to connect them, to amplify their voice, to empower them and help them scale-up their projects. On September 6th I will announce, together with them and many others, a new “Global Exchange on Religion in Society”.
Tonight I will be at the European Council that will discuss on the European Union’s new leadership.