Check against delivery!
Je vais commencer en Français par la terrible nouvelle que nous avons reçue hier soir du Mali. J'étais en contact avec le Ministre des Affaires étrangères du Mali [Abdoulaye Diop] pendant la nuit. Nous sommes ensemble dans cette lutte contre le terrorisme, comme j'ai eu l'opportunité de le réaffirmer il y a tout juste 10 jours à Bamako avec nos forces, hommes et femmes de l'Union européenne qui sont sur place à Bamako et dans la région, pour soutenir les forces du Mali, à travers nos missions militaire et civile, ainsi que notre soutien à la force conjointe du G5 Sahel contre le terrorisme - 50 millions [d'euros] que l'Union européenne va donner pour aider à renforcer le contrôle du territoire.
Nous sommes ensemble dans cette lutte mais nous sommes aussi ensemble dans le drame. Nous sommes en train de faire les dernières vérifications sur les identités mais il est bien possible que certaines des victimes soient européennes. Nous sommes en train d'informer les familles et je pourrais sans doute vous en dire davantage plus tard. Ce sont bien sûr des heures difficiles et dramatiques qui démontrent comment les Européens et les Africains – ici les Maliens – sont vraiment frères et sœurs dans la lutte contre le terrorisme et la réponse est la solidarité.
Nous allons parler de cela aujourd'hui avec des décisions que les Ministres vont prendre ensemble, précisément sur notre soutien au Mali et au Sahel, à l'Afrique en général - un partenariat très fort qui va se consolider, se renforcer lors du sommet Afrique/Union européenne en novembre.
We will also focus our work today on counter-terrorism. As you know we have done a lot of work and we have seen in recent weeks, from London or Manchester to other countries, terrible attacks. We have experienced both inside and outside of the European Union how important it is to link the internal and external work we do on counter-terrorism. This is exactly what we are doing and we will continue to reinforce this work. I expect a strong push in this direction from EU Ministers today and a strong coherence with the behaviour that they then take nationally.
We will also have an important report from my side on the implementation of the Global Strategy [for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy] that puts together all the different aspects of our work from counter-terrorism to development, humanitarian and the work we are doing on security and defence which is proceeding very fast and very well.
We will have today a joint report by me and the NATO Secretary General [Jens Stoltenberg] - he will be represented by the Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller - on the implementation of the steps we have decided to take together, European Union and NATO. There are 42 of them - many already done and implemented – so I will report to the Ministers and we will define the way forward in the coming months.
We will also discuss about the Gulf and the situation there. I am personally in contact on a daily basis with all the relevant players, starting obviously from the Foreign Ministers of the [United Arab] Emirates [Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan], of Saudi Arabia [Adel al-Jubeir], of Qatar [Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani] and of Kuwait [Sabah Al-Khalid al-Sabah]. We are supporting very much the Kuwaiti mediation efforts and I expect today another sign from the Ministers of strong unity and determination of the European Union to back our friends and brothers from Kuwait in this difficult work they are doing. They need all our support and we stand ready to help.
Q. On the situation in the Gulf.
What we are saying is that any difficulty, any tension, can be and must be resolved at a table, discussing, in dialogue, finding common ways, and politically. No unilateral steps. We invite all to deescalate the tensions and to engage in direct dialogue. Also because the European Union has a direct interest in having the Gulf countries cooperating among themselves – all of them are our partners in the fight against terrorism, all of them are our partners economically, and also in trying to solve some of the regional crises. The region is already fragile enough, dangerous enough, and we are starting to see dangerous spill-overs already both in the broader region but also in Africa and in Asia. There are worrying signals, so we really invite all to find a way to solve any tension, any controversies, at a table, discussing through dialogue, politically, without exacerbating tensions. It is always possible and even more so has to be possible among countries that belong to the Gulf Cooperation Countries.
Q. The German Minister for Development [Gerd Müller] said that due to climate change there might be the risk of 100 million of refugees coming from Africa. Do you share that opinion, do you see the risk of?
I have always said that climate change for the Europeans as well as for the Africans or for many others in the world is part of security. It is not a luxury, it is not something naive that some smart people want to tackle around the world. No, it is a primary issue of security for many, including in Africa but I think of the Caribbean or the Pacific Islands or Europe as well. I was just a few days ago in the Arctic. There, climate change is real and is threatening us directly. That is also why – thank you for the question – today we will adopt together with all the Ministers very strong language on the need to uphold the commitments taken in the Paris Agreement. The European Union and all its Member-States will not only implement the Paris Agreement, we are also building strong global alliances to make sure that the Paris Agreement will be implemented. Even after [Donald] Trump's decision to step back, we see within the United States [of America] many, from businesses to local authorities, that are determined to live up to the commitments taken in Paris. We are there to support the global international community that is aware of the fact that, yes, climate change is a matter of reality and a matter of priority.
Q. Do you support a mission in Iraq? Is there a role for the EU to play in Iraq in terms of sending a mission to train police or judges?
We will discuss our support to Iraq today with the Ministers. As you noticed, we have a very full agenda today. We are doing a lot in terms of stabilisation of the liberated areas from Da'esh, in particular on demining but also on training the police. So, we will discuss further with the Ministers and I will meet you again in the early afternoon.
By the way, I forgot to mention one very important part of the day. It is not formally part of the Foreign Affairs Council, but we have today with us the Foreign Ministers of our Eastern partners with whom we will start preparing the summit we have with our six Eastern partners in autumn – this is also a very important part of our work that is continuing. So, I will update you on all of this if we manage to finish on time early afternoon.