Brussels, 18 February 2016
Check against delivery.
Let me start by saying that we extend our condolences to the Turkish people, Turkish authorities for what happened yesterday night and still today. These attacks are completely unacceptable.
We will have today and tomorrow a very important Council.
First of all, I hope that we will have a deal with the UK, a deal that can make the European Union stronger and the UK part of a stronger Union.
We will have a point on migration where it is clear to everybody now that we have to avoid unilateral steps, national illusions of a solution. There are only European solutions, not national ones. So we need to have all measures that were already decided implemented by all of us, in full. This is the only way forward. We will also need to discuss, in the coming weeks, further European policies and measures and instruments, for sure the revision of Dublin that was already mentioned in the past months as a necessity. We work on that as well.
We will also have a discussion on Syria, and let me mention also Libya that is going to be very important. On Syria, exactly one week ago in Munich, all the actors in the region and internationally took three commitments:
One: access to humanitarian aid. I was in contact today with Staffan de Mistura. We managed to have access to five besieged areas with 114 trucks that managed to deliver humanitarian aid to 83000 people. This is a major achievement of the commitments we have taken last week. And this is also thanks to the European Union's work, obviously thanks very much to the UN's leading role. We are committed to continue to work on the humanitarian access. We still have other areas we need to reach with a potential of 460 000 people who are in need of humanitarian aid. This is a first good sign but we need to continue insisting on this, on humanitarian aid.
Second commitment we took was the cessation of hostilities. Here we are far from that and we need to have the work on modalities of a cessation of hostilities happening now. Also because we are all committed to work towards a nationwide cease-fire in Syria and I believe we have to have the International Community seriously working in this direction, in concrete terms.
And last but not least at all - the third commitment we all took is [to have] the political process talks in Geneva to restart as soon as possible and a transition to start in Damascus.
This is a track that the International Community agreed on; I was sitting around the table just one week ago. We need to stick to these commitments and make them implemented as we managed to start to have [some results] on the humanitarian track.
Q: Are you not afraid that the conflict in Turkey's borders is going to rise?
A. We all know that the way out for Syria and in Syria is working towards a cease-fire, to work for a cessation of hostilities. I think we are all committed to try and achieve that even if the modalities are very complicated, different agendas are very complicated to manage. But this was a political commitment that was taken only one week ago. We have to stick to that and try to make this work.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I116827