Washington, 10 February 2017
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President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, Mr Fred Kempe (FK): You said your mission for this trip was to identify common ground. We have heard comments from the administration and during the campaign that question at times the existence of the European Union, but also we at the Atlantic Council have heard quite the opposite as well in our dealings with people within the administration. After your meetings here in Washington, D.C. over the last two days – impressive: seven Senators; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; the National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and others - which I think underscores the importance that the leaders of this Administration accord this relationship but I wasn't in the meetings. So it would be really interesting for us to hear what your takeaways were. What did you hear that was reassuring? What did you hear that leaves questions? Are you returning to Europe changed in any of your views? More optimistic? Less so? I would love to hear your trip report.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini (FM): Thank you. Well, first of all, thank you for the invitation and it is really like being home. I was afraid you were going to say "my home away from home" and as I am confused if my home now is Rome or Brussels that would have been a challenge in itself. But indeed for me it is home and I was just remembering the first time I came to the Atlantic Council: I was still a member of the Italian Parliament in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and this was already, back then, my home, away from Europe. So, it is great to be here and thanks for having me here. And thanks to all of you for coming.
I came here with a certain dose of optimism already, so I do not have to change my mind on that. I said I was coming first of all to show that on the European side, there is a strong and deep belief in the fact that across the Atlantic, we are friends. Our peoples are friends; they also do a lot of things together from trade and investment to foreign policy and security work. And also to reach out at an early stage to the new Administration, and also with Congress - and that is why so many meetings on the Hill - because it seems to me that in this moment we need to talk from our European side to the different interlocutors in the US institutions in these days.
And I will come back from this trip with a positive impression. You were not in the meetings but I can tell you that they were all good, very good. I do not know what the next tweet would be about but my meetings were excellent so what I am receiving as a message is first of a great attention from my interlocutors in Washington to the work of the European Union and a clear message: we want to continue working together. And this is the same message that I am bringing here. So, all good.
FK: The one name I failed to mention in listing your meetings was Jared Kushner, Special Advisor to the President. He is also taking on quite a bit of responsibility for the Middle East. I do not expect you to reveal confidences and private conversations but in these meetings did you get a feeling of what the priorities would be for the administration, or any of the individuals you talk to, in the EU relationship if you were 'tiering' them?
FM: Well, first of all, one of the purposes of these meetings were also, from my side, to make clear which priorities we have in Europe and that was, I think, important to do at an early stage, because it seems to me that policies in Washington in this moment are still in the making, and that we have space for defining together at an early stage, in a very pragmatic manner, in which fields we will have a common approach or a common interest, or a common priority, and in which other fields or files we might have a different approach, different priorities. Something can be very important for us and less important here [in the US]; or on some other issues we might disagree. I have the impression that - before I said "all good", meaning that all meetings were good and all messages were good - but I would not pretend that we do not have different views on some issues.
So what I can tell you is where European priorities are and where I see where common ground can be found and maybe some other issues where we have different approaches.
I see, first of all, common ground in the strong intention to work together. If I have to believe in all the messages that I have heard during my meetings, that is clear to me: continued cooperation, strong US-EU cooperation and work; understanding well, I think - and I hope that I contributed to this understanding in these two days - that the European Union is not an institution, it is 28 Member States.
Second, some common ground on some of our priorities that are common priorities: the fight against terrorism - Ambassador [Kristen Silverberg, Managing Director, Institute of International Finance; Former Ambassador of the United States to the European Union] was mentioning this -; solving some of the crises we have around us and globally - the situation in the east of Ukraine, Syria, terrorism, not only in the Middle East, but also spreading in some parts of Africa. We have, for sure, work that we can do together there.
We have on the European side top priorities where we might find some different views across the Atlantic today. How we face the Middle East Peace Process? I think there we share the priority, we might have some differences on how we face them - and as you can see, I am very open and not hiding any of the difficulties - and we might have some other issues where we see, as Europeans, that we need to put these issues as a priority and maybe here [in the US] not so much: climate change, multilateralism, free trade, free and fair trade and an international global system of trade, maybe some human rights issues. But it is not for me to define the American agenda that I understand is still in the making. What I can do it is to bring the European agenda, put it on the table and in a very pragmatic, open, constructive, friendly, maybe transactional approach, see where we can work together, where we might have differences, and how we make the most out of this partnership.
Among the things on which we might have different views, there is the global approach to migration and refugees and again, the list could continue. But I see space for common ground, I see space for common work and I understand that many policies are still in the making. I forgot to mention one very important thing, on which I found some common ground, which is the nuclear deal with Iran – the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). For me, that was a priority, that is a priority to preserve the deal, have a strong US commitment to its full implementation, which means strict - an implementation is either in place or not - so one hundred percent, and on this I come back with some reassurances.
FK: I saw you tweet that earlier…
FM: I also tweet and I also do it myself!
FK: So even more room for common ground!
FM: Definitely so! Even if I am considering to make my team check my tweets before I send them out!
FK: I won't comment on that! Maybe we can talk a bit about the Iran conversation - what did you hear there that you found reassuring ?
FM: I have heard from all my interlocutors the intention to make sure that the deal is one hundred percent implemented. This requires all parties, which means mainly Iran on its nuclear commitments but also the international community to fulfil the commitments that are agreed in the deal. And for me personally, this is a very important thing to do because I still have a special institutional role in chairing the Joint Commission that overviews the implementation of the deal, which is not a bilateral deal, which is now belonging to the international community through the UN Security Council Resolution that endorses it. And as a European, it was important for me to pass here the message that I think was clearly understood, that it is key for our security, as we are in the same region with Iran, to see the deal implemented, as it is being now - because one year after the implementation day we have had four IAEA ¬¬[International Atomic Energy Agency] reports on its full implementation on the nuclear-related commitments of Iran. This is important for Europe; this is essential for Europe.
Then there are other issues where we share concerns with the US administration and with many others in the world, that are not related to the nuclear programme of Iran, not related to the nuclear agreement, the role of Iran in some regional conflicts, starting from Yemen or Syria, support to terrorist activities, the missile tests and things like that. I would add, as a European, humans rights and death penalty – I know this is a different story maybe here but for us it is really an important point.
And as Europeans, we do have our sanctions in place for non-nuclear related issues with Iran and in some cases our sanctions are tougher than the American ones. So, we also are concerned about some other things. But what is clear to us, as Europeans, all together, and what I also conveyed here in my meetings, is that Europe feels an interest and a responsibility to engage with Iran. Especially as long as the nuclear deal is fully implemented on their side, on their nuclear commitments, we will continue to engage with Iran, be it on economic relations, be it in political dialogue, be it in the sectorial dialogues and cooperation we have started. I know this is not the US policy, but this is the European policy and this will continue.
So, we have on one side, the full implementation of the JCPOA, where I have seen here a certain degree of commitment, to stick to that; [and on the other,] our common concerns on non-nuclear related issues on the role of Iran and where we have different policies, but that was the case also with the previous administration. The European way - as has always been the case with Iran - is one of engagement and that will continue. And I think it is very important that Iranians, that the Iranian citizens hear this from Europe in these days.
FK: Thank you for that. On Russia. We have heard different statements at different times from the administration, from the President. The administration most recently signalled the US sanctions against Russia would remain in place. On the other hand there seems to be a desire to significantly improve the relationship with Russia. To the extent you can, how did this come up in your conversations and where do you see potential commonalities and differences on the issue of Russia, particularly Ukraine?
FM: You know it is quite weird. It is the first time I come to Washington and rather than being questioned on the EU's positions on Russia, on Syria or whatever, I am questioned about the US's positions. It is ok. I will try my best!
FK: Yes, could you please tell us what the US's position is? (Laughs)
FM: I am not sure I can! No, on some things I do, I am not sure it is appropriate for me to be the spokesperson but that is an interesting experience. It is also the first time that the main focus of my visit to Washington is bilateral relations rather than some of the crises we have around us, and this is telling us the new era we are entering in.
On Russia, first of all, for Europeans, it is clear: we have a two-track policy with Russia. There are files on which we work very well with Russia: the Iran deal was a perfect example of that; the Middle East Peace Process - Israel-Palestine is another example where the Europeans and the Russians work well together within the Quartet, we have similar views; other issues where we work a lot and well together. So this perception that Europe doesn't talk to Russia is a misperception and, by the way, a couple of years ago I would have been asked if we were not talking too much to the Russians so things change in an interesting manner.
We have a strong policy and principled policy when it comes to Ukraine. This is very serious to us. Not only for the situation in the east of Ukraine itself and in Crimea but also because for us Europeans it is essential to understand each other, especially across the Atlantic, on the basic, vital principle that you do not change borders by force. And this, for us, is a must of our cooperation. Across the Atlantic, this has never been put into question and I believe this is related not only to the principles of international law - which it is - but also it is a matter of security for Europe and I believe that many of my fellow European citizens in the East of our continent are potentially a bit nervous about question marks that could be put here on this approach.
Also on this, my meetings were positive and in particular we agreed that as long as the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented, sanctions will remain in place. But I do not know if this is going to be the consolidated policy and as you were not in my meetings I was not in the Oval Office when President Trump called President Putin. But for us this is an essential point and I believe that this is not only an essential point for Europeans, I think that in Congress this is an essential point as well.
FK: If there is a thaw of some sort in relationships between the US and Russia - which is a possibility, even if sanctions should remain in place - do you foresee that the EU Member States will have the resolve to remain firm on sanctions under the current set of circumstances where Minsk has not been implemented and Crimea is still occupied ?
FM: I think Europeans will continue to be united on that. I do not know if Americans will be united on that, but Europeans will. For us - I want to be clear also on this - for us the sanctions are not a policy in itself. It is not something we take particular pleasure in having. For us it is an instrument to put pressure and achieve the result, and for us the result is not keeping the sanctions; for us, the result is solving the conflict in Ukraine. So, we also discussed, especially with Secretary Tillerson, how we can better support, or help, the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and this is perfectly fine because the real objective is this: to achieve peace in the east of Ukraine, respect of international law, and also in Crimea. So, again, the European position is clear on this. I am confident it will continue to be clear, in unity, because all those who, over years, have bet on Europeans to divide themselves on this have been wrong and I think this will continue to be the case, but I cannot answer for the US. I can say I was receiving reassuring messages, but I do not know if there will be divisions in the US on this. I hope not.
FK: Thank you for that. I am going to ask one or two more questions and then go to the audience. You have said that the EU is ready for a transactional way of working with the United States – your words in the past, and also today. I guess, at the Atlantic Council, the notion of a transactional relationship for the transatlantic partners would seem a step backwards. So do you think that this is sufficient, and what do you mean when you say a transactional way of working with the United States?
FM: You know I have the feeling that this is a moment in history where we have to avoid taking it for granted that people understand the added value of our friendship; which is sad, I agree. I prefer to have a partnership, a friendship based on this automatic reflex we have had in these last years of turning to each other and agreeing things to do, naturally.
But if there is the need to recall the need for a friendship to be in place, the added value of the European Union to America, then we are ready to do so. And I will just mention a couple of very basic things that here in the Atlantic Council I think are quite self-evident but maybe we need to stress them again.
One is the economic relation we have. 80% of foreign investment in the US comes from Europe, comes from the European Union. 80%. Not 18%, 80%. And I think we are bringing a couple of million more jobs in America with European investment. And I think you cannot find many States in the United States that are not having three hundred, four hundred thousand jobs created from Europe in America. Is this a transactional way of putting things? I do not know. But we need each other. And it is not only Europe that needs America. It is America that needs Europe and we had better recognise that to have a serious conversation.
The other thing is security and even if the European Union is not NATO and we cannot make the two organisations overlap, there is a big elephant in the room that is the investment in our common security. In Europe, we have started well before the November [US Presidential] elections last summer, to work very seriously on strengthening the European defence within the European Union. And to me it was very strange because I spent from July to October, November even, reassuring Washington and the other side of Brussels, which means NATO's headquarters, that this was not to undermine NATO, not in competition with NATO but to strengthen NATO, and now I am passing these other months explaining that it is good to strengthen NATO and this is going to be the European way.
I put this in the 'transactional box' because - you know that perfectly well - Article 5 was invoked only once and that was after 9/11. Europeans have carried the burden for our common commitment to security in the world through NATO but also through other means. The European Union is a security provider. It is also a hard power, even if this is not perceived too much here. We have 16 military missions and operations in the world; we are training military forces in parts of Africa where the terrorist threat is serious and present; we are operating off the coast of the Horn of Africa against piracy, that has basically disappeared from the region; we are in the Mediterranean Sea, dismantling the businesses of smugglers and traffickers of people, but also saving lives.
We are also a military power, and if people are serious about the need to have European Member States investing not only more but also better on defence, this can be done with the support of the European Union. I give you an example - I think I mentioned that to you in Davos a couple of weeks ago: In Europe we invest 50% of what is invested in America for defence, but the output of our European investment on defence is 15%. Why? Because we are not working together at the economy of scale that is needed. So, here comes the added value of the European Union. We are proposing plans and funds to incentivise Member States of the European Union to work together in cooperation on developing capabilities, investing in research and innovation, strengthening their defence. This can happen with the support of the European Union. Without that, single Member States will continue to invest in a very fragmented manner and the burden sharing of our common security across the Atlantic will continue to be as it is. So, two examples of how transactional we can be.
FK: So not just getting the NATO target of 2% for all the NATO Members, but actually spending the money better via the EU plans. One last question from me and then I will turn to the audience: You were talking about Europe needing the US and the US needing Europe. The impression from here – and also among many of my European friends there – is that European Union is facing potentially existential challenges. You have Brexit; you have challenges from the East; challenges from the South; centrifugal political challenges; and then the elections this year in France, Holland, Germany and so on. How do you view the state of Europe from that stand point? How serious do you think these challenges are? And even more importantly what is the US contribution, what could the U.S. contribution or the Trump administration's contribution, be at this point in this scenario?
FM: For good or bad?
FK: In both ways. Let’s look at a worst case scenario and a best case scenario
FM: You know, I will surprise you: I think the state of our Union is strong and good. I have recently said that the European Union – Europe in general - is a little bit like a 16-year old, beautiful girl who looks at herself in the mirror and finds herself ugly and that life is awful and everything is going wrong. While we are turning 60 this year - we are going to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome at the end of March. The previous U.S. administration used to tell us very often that Europe should believe in itself as much as America believes in Europe. And I think that this sentence worth keeping very strongly in our memory, at least in Europe, because we are much more powerful, much stronger than sometimes we perceive ourselves to be.
You speak about a European existential crisis. Take Brexit: eight months after the referendum, the UK has not even formally notified their willingness to start negotiations. So for sure the decision is taken but they do not seem particularly in a hurry to get out. I think this is telling a lot. And by the way, I take this chance to stress on the fact that not only is the UK still a Member State, but it will be to continue to be the case for another couple of years - minimum. So, this has to be taken into consideration because I chair three formations of the Council of the European Union – Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers and Development Ministers -; we are still 28 around the table and we will continue to be 28 around the table. So not only do I not see others following but at the moment I still have 28 Foreign Ministers to deal with and we still take decisions by consensus. And an important thing to stress: not because we are a prison but because Member States see this as in their own interest - as long as you are a Member State trade agreements are negotiated by the European Union. Not one single Member State, including the UK for at least for a couple of years, can negotiate bilateral trade agreements with third parties. I think this is important to state here as I understand our British friends also did also publicly - I don’t know if they did so privately - but for sure this is continuing to be the case. So in the transactional approach, there is also the trade part of the relevance of the European Union being the first market in the world - also for American goods - and the second economic power for GDP in the world. There is a bit of discussion which is one is the first but I leave it to you.
FK: And the US contribution? What would you hope to be the worst case and best case?
FM: I only have one case: no interference. We do not interfere in U.S. domestic politics - and there is plenty of U.S. politics these days; it is not for me to comment on that: not on political decisions, not on decisions of the court. That’s for the U.S. It is a democracy, a great democracy, strong institutions, strong people, great people. It is not for me or for any other European to comment on domestic political choices or decisions in the U.S. The same goes with Europe. No interference. By the way we do not see elections as a major challenge, elections are part of our democratic life and Europeans can take their own political decisions wisely. I have full confidence in the European democracies. And I have the impression that there is quite enough to do here [in the U.S.] and maybe free time to dedicate to European politics is not that much. Maybe ‘America first’ means also that you have to deal with America first.
FK: So that seems a little bit of a minimalist approach if you think of America’s role in the post-World War II history of Europe. But you would be satisfied with that? To let Europe go forward the way it will go forward. You don't really need America’s help and assistance at this point?
FM: I am saying no interference because I am hearing and seeing messages from time to time - not in my meetings here and this reassures me very, very much -, but I am hearing rumours around or seeing people, inviting Europeans to do one thing or the other, inviting Member States to do one thing or the other and I think we have to make clear that there is a certain European pride. We are grateful to America. I am Italian and I stop here. It is clear, no? It is clear. We have built our freedom, our democracies, our economies together. But we are grown up. We are turning 60 this year as a Union. We are a global power. We are responsible for ourselves. I wish we could have a friendship that continues to be a natural friendship in which we can help each other to strengthen our economies, our democracies. Democracy is always in the making. It is never perfect. That is the best case scenario. That is clear. We have never had such a strong and fruitful transatlantic partnership as we have had in these two-and-a-half years that I have been in office. That has been ideal. For me and for all us Europeans, this can continue and we would be definitely happy with that. But as I hear, sometimes, voices saying that the European Union is not necessarily a good idea, inviting to dismantle what we have managed to build and that has brought us not only peace, but also economic strength.
FK: I hear you. As with the physician you start by doing no harm!
FM: Yes. Then if we can do much better than this I am only happy because this is the way in which we worked in these last two years and a half.
FM: For me, two years and half.
Questions from the audience:
Question: West Asia Council: When engaging with your American interlocutors, did you have the chance to discuss issues of migration, diversity and pluralism across the Atlantic, including refugees?
FK: You did hint in your opening comments that there may be differences of opinion on migration and refugees?
FM: Again, it is not for me to comment on decisions that are taken here and especially in a moment when we see that there is some institutional divergence around them. I do not comment on court decisions in my own country – imagine here. That is a good rule for any politician I believe. It is for the United States to find their own on how to manage migration. What I can say is that is that the European way – and we struggled quite a lot to find our own way, because last year, the year before, was quite painful experience - and again, being an Italian, I have been struggling for years when I was in my own country to have a common European response to a challenge that was seen in the previous years only as a national one. But finally we got, as Europeans in the European Union, to a common approach that is based on partnership and cooperation with countries of origin and transit; work to dismantle the criminal organisations; saving lives at sea and in the desert – which are the main places where people are dying on our routes; investing in local development of communities from where the flows start; protecting peoples' lives; human rights; respecting for the dignity of human beings, whoever they are, wherever they are, and whatever background they have. This is the European way.
We struggled a lot to get there - yes, indeed. Is it still sometimes controversial within the European public scene? Yes, it is. But this is the common policy that we are putting in place, and this is starting to get us some results. We think that there is no way in which you can feed the illusion that migration can be stopped. Migration can be managed and has to be managed. Between the illusion of stopping the flow of people with walls and saying that everybody can come there is a reasonable, sensible and respectful manner to manage rationally and this is our way. This is the European way and this is, by the way, the way the international community agreed in New York when we decided together - all together - to establish Global Compacts for refugees and migration and we are committed to that: partnership with the IOM [International Organization for Migration], UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] , the UN system, and especially focused on the respect of human rights of people.
The history of Europe is also such that, you know, we tend to be quite sensitive when it comes to walls and the symbolism of that is strong. We tend to celebrate when walls come down and we are quite sceptical when it comes to the idea that walls can stop people or things. They empower smugglers, normally, and they close you in an encircled area. Maybe that is because Europe has always been a continent of emigration. How many Italians do you know who have key roles here in the United States? I guess the Mayor of the city of the President [New York City] and not only the current one [Bill de Blasio], but also a few others, from [Rudolph] Giuliani to others. America has always been great because it has been made up of many people coming from different places. Europe does not have that tradition, but we know what it means to move around because you are going out of a place because of war or because you are simply looking for a better place. So again, this does not mean that by open borders - everyone can come. Not at all. But it means that there is a rational, humane way of managing this. I do not know for America but I guess, but for sure for Europe if we were to imagine that tomorrow all migrants disappear from our countries, our economies would collapse immediately. So the costs of no migration for our economies and not only but for our societies would be big. Again this does not mean that it does not have to be managed; it has to be managed in a sustainable manner, but I guess we have a different approach. I raised this, not to say "you are wrong" but to say "we are doing it in a different manner".
Question: Ambassador of Azerbaijan: I know that you just met with President [of Azerbaijan Ilham] Aliyev in Brussels and it was a successful visit. When you spoke about current priorities you did not mention energy security. I wanted to ask you whether during your meetings in Washington you mentioned the southern corridor and related issues with the South Gas Corridor. And also I am very happy to hear that you said that borders should not change by force. I hope that applies to the borders of my country, the Republic of Azerbaijan.
FM: The issue of energy security, which is a very relevant issue for Europe – diversification of our sources and routes are part of our security strategy, was not central in my talks here. This does not mean that it will not be and I had an excellent opportunity on Monday meeting with your President to restate our strong support to the Southern Gas Corridor and that will continue to be the case. By the way, I think that you are hosting in the coming week the meeting where last year I was present together with my interlocutor here in the United States, to show our common support to the project. On the European side this is going to continue.
Question: Voice of America, Albanian Service: On the judiciary reform in Albania: the EU and the United States have been investing really heavily in having this reform approved in the country but already there have been concerns expressed by both representatives about issues with implementing the reform or sort of some efforts to deter the reform. Are you concerned about this and how do you see the future of implementation? And, if possible, you talked about the plate full of opportunities between the U.S. and the EU to work together on international issues. With the U.S. adopting a stand of ‘America, first’ and this full plate, will the Balkans get the short thrift? You know how important the transatlantic cooperation has been for the region. Thank you, grazie.
FM: First on the judiciary reform in Albania: I had the honour to address the Albanian parliament just on the eve of the unanimous vote on the judicial reform and I think that was really an historic step for the country. Obviously for us what is important is that now the same unity and the same determination is shown on the implementation of the reform, and I am confident that the country can find this strength in the institutions to do that, because I know how much Albanians attach importance to this reform and I think – not only I, we think - that this is also key to move forward on the European Union integration path for the country, which is an open path. You know that there is an open door and I really hope that this will manage to be built in a sense of national unity. I know that this is not the favourite sport in Albania but I think when it comes to the interest of the citizens this is a must.
On the Western Balkans: this was part of many of my conversations here in Washington to pass the message, indeed, that for us in the European Union the work with the Western Balkans is key, is a priority, also because sometimes we refer to this region as on its way to Europe, we do not realise that it is Europe, it is the heart of Europe. And for us in the European Union the regional cooperation and the fact that every single country moves towards its reform path and, finally, integration in the European Union, is essential. And the message that I passed here was for that to happen we need to continuous engagement from the region – and I see that engagement, with all the difficulties, I see that engagement -; continuous strong focus from the European Union's side – and you can count on me personally and on the leadership in the European Union to make sure that this happens and continues to happen; and also on a clear vision in Washington to continue to be focused in the Western Balkans in a constructive manner, and I hope that the message was heard.
Question: Latino Victory Project: When [German] Chancellor, Angela Merkel congratulated President [Donald] Trump, she offered cooperation on the basis of values – democracy, rule of law, etc. Now, hearing your comments here today, I hear a more - as you put it - a more transactional approach. Is it fair to say that there is a difference in degree or what would be the balance between values/transactional approach?
Question: Arms Control Association: Thank you for your leadership on the JCPOA. It was reassuring to hear you say that that there is a commitment to the implementation of the agreement [JPCOA] but as we approach some key deadlines, sanctions waiver dates, are you concerned that Congress may initiate actions that Iran might interpret to be violations of the JPCOA – in other words, sanctions that might have the same effect as some of the old nuclear-related sanctions. Are you confident that the deal will be able to navigate through this period of the next two or three months?
FM: The most frequent question I get is if I am concerned about something. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned. We are not living easy times nor in an easy world. What I can tell you is that the European Union – which means all Europeans and me personally with my special role on the JPCOA implementation –, we will monitor carefully and in a very strict manner the implementation of the deal in its entirety, from all sides. And that it is a clear European interest – a shared interest - to preserve the agreement and its implementation. I don’t know if, again, confidence and optimism is category of foreign policy – I tend to believe not – but I can tell you the determination we have to make sure that the deal is preserved and fully implemented and strictly implemented by all, in all parts.
On the previous question: I can tell you one thing that is one hundred percent clear. There is no distinction, not even different shadows in the European attitude towards the United States. And I know that - not because I read it somewhere – but because exactly one week ago, last Friday, I was in Malta for the summit with all Heads of State and Government of the European Union, including Theresa May [Prime Minister of the United Kingdom] who was just back from Washington and she shared with us her assessment of her visit, and we had a conversation not only Chancellor [Angela] Merkel, President [of the French Republic, François] Hollande, all of the 28 on our approach to the transatlantic partnership and the U.S..
What I described as "transactional" – I don't like the word too much, but I guess that was used for the first time here - I would talk about a pragmatic approach that is based on values, our values, that we assume are common values, but again we are in a moment when we can state things for ourselves, so European values and European interests, with a sense of friendship but also with a clear sense of priorities when it comes to making clear that some European values and interests are not under discussion. So, it is friendship, it doesn't change, otherwise I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be looking forward to welcoming Vice-President [Mike] Pence ten days from now in Brussels for his official visit to the EU institutions. Friendship, cooperation, on the basis of our values, on the basis of our interests, but also with clear ideas on what cannot be in doubt when it comes some of our priorities.
FK: Thank you, High Representative. We know that you have to go now to another meeting. Let me just say a couple of things in closing. First of all, this is an important time for you to be in the United States. We hope you’ll come frequently.
FM: I will come next month.
FK: Great. Anytime you are where, whenever the Atlantic Council can be of assistance we would love to do it. Your voice is an important one and in my lifetime I am not sure that the transatlantic relationship has played as important role for the future – or a more important role - as it does now. So on behalf of the audience and everybody listening to us online and elsewhere, thank you so much for taking the time, thank you so much for this timely trip to the United States.
FM: Thank you.