The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, visited Italy on 18-19 March ahead of the first anniversary of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military operation, EUNAVFOR MED IRINI.
During the visit, on 18 March, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell had a wide-ranging discussion on foreign affairs matters with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio. They exchanged on positive developments in Libya and held an in-depth discussion on Turkey and Russia ahead of next weeks’ Foreign Affairs Council and European Council. High Representative Borrell also met Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini. They discussed important EU defence initiatives such as the Strategic Compass, and operational CSDP engagement in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and Libya. He commended Italy’s important contribution to Operation Irini, providing also its Operational Headquarters.
Later in the afternoon, HR/VP Borrell met with IRINI’s Operation Commander Fabio Agostini for a debrief on the Operation’s latest activities and to visit the Operation’s headquarters in Rome. He delivered a press conference, highlighting the importance Operation Irini plays in contributing to regional stability and security in the Central Mediterranean.
On Friday, 19 March, High Representative Borrell delivered a speech from the Sigonella air base in Sicily and presided a medal ceremony in honour of the military personnel detached to the Operation. He then visited a static display of the Operation’s air assets and addressed questions from the press. From there, he visited the FGS Berlin and met with the Commander. On board, he held a phone call with German Minister for Defence, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, to thank Germany for its contribution to the Operation and political efforts to support the path towards peace in Libya.
All recordings and photos are available on EbS.