With Rohingya refugees. Then at work with our Eastern partners and Africa

With Rohingya refugees. Then at work with our Eastern partners and Africa

I write after a week that begun in South-East Asia and ended with our partners from Eastern Europe.

Last Sunday I was in Bangladesh to visit the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, hosting hundreds of thousands Rohingya refugees (video here). I heard stories – particularly from a group of women and mothers – so powerful that I will never forget. To help find a solution, I met with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and the day after, in Myanmar, with State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi. I was in Myanmar on the occasion of the Asia-Europe Meeting: so on Monday morning we gathered all the Foreign Ministers who were there, to encourage an agreement on the Rohingyas’ fate (here my statement on behalf of EU ministers). And an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar was reached a few days later: now, as European Union, we expect that their return will happen fast and in safe conditions. Here is my statement on the agreement.

The Asia-Europe meeting was also an opportunity to discuss cooperation on peace, security and economic growth with our Asian partners. Here is my speech at the opening ceremony of the summit, and the meeting’s conclusions.

Back to Brussels, on Wednesday we worked to prepare next week’s summit between the African Union and the European Union. I met with the African Union’s Secretary General Moussa Faki, then – at the European Parliament – with Central-African President  Faustine-Archange Touadera and Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop. Over the last days, once again we saw terrible images coming from the detention camps in Libya: we have agreed joint measures to protect these people and help them go back to their homes (here is my joint statement the President of the African Union Alpha Condé), but we also discussed how to address the deep causes of migration.

Our African partners ask us to work together on security and investment. And this week our European External Investment Plan took its first steps: it is the largest ever plan to support private investment in Africa. This is the key to help Africa create new opportunities, particularly for its youth. Here is my speech at the Parliament, here is the press conference with Faki and the one with Tajani, Touadera and Diop.

Yesterday morning, still in Brussels, another event on the European citizens’ security and defence. I was at the European Defence Agency’s annual conference, to explain how we are turning the dream of a European Union of security and defence into reality, after sixty years of failed attempts. Here is my speech.

Today, finally, I was at the summit with our six partners from Eastern Europe – Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. We approved twenty practical projects to realise together by 2020. Because this is the true meaning of our partnership: practical cooperation to make a real difference to the life of European citizens, all of them. Here are the summit conclusions, here the signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with Armenia.