I spent the last two days in Tirana, Paris and Rabat. The trip started on Thursday in Albania: there I addressed the Parliament on the future of the country’s relations with Europe, which very much depends on the ability of Albanian institutions to pass deep reforms – starting with judicial reform. These reforms are not for Brussels’ sake, but for the citizens of Albania. This is what I discussed with president Bujar Nishani, prime minister Edi Rama, foreign minister Ditmir Bushati, the speaker of the Parliament Ilir Meta and members of the opposition.
Albania’s success could be a success for the entire European Union, because our need for cooperation grows by the day: on security and terrorism, on preventing radicalisation, stabilising the Balkans, managing the flows of refugees who are fleeing from the war in Syria.
And Syria was the core of yesterday’s meeting with the foreign ministers of France Jean-Marc Ayrault, of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Philip Hammond of the UK. We discussed how best to help those Syrians who are staying in the country, as we also try to strengthen the political process mediated by the UN.
The European Union in Syria’s largest donor, together with Member States we have pledged millions of euros to help Syrians. But we also have a fundamental political role in facilitating the peace process. The current truce must hold, and the dialogue initiated in Geneva must restart. We talked about this with the Syrian opposition’s chief negotiator, Riyad Hijab, who joined us during part of our meeting and whom I also met at length one-to-one.
The truce is far from perfect, the delivery of humanitarian aid is difficult, the political process is fragile. But for the first time in five years, the opportunity to truly end the war and to finally stop Daesh is at hand.
Then it was Paris to Rabat, for a meeting with Moroccan foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar. The meeting was followed by a press point, here is the video.
This coming Monday I will be in Brussels for the European Council and the Summit with Turkey. Tuesday in Strasbourg for the European Parliament’s plenary, then a visit to Argentina and Cuba.