On Friday, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell participated in a roundtable with all six Western Balkan partners. In his intervention, he outlined the main objective of the revised Commission enlargement methodology, aimed at making the process more credible, dynamic and predictable, while also ensuring a stronger engagement. In this first meeting of President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti, he also reiterated the need for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue to be resumed as soon as possible. He underlined the European Union’s resolve to support the dialogue, and stressed the need for a European perspective for the region as a whole.
On Saturday, he participated in the informal European ministerial meeting on the D-ISIS Coalition and Iraq, which discussed the continued work of the Global Coalition in Iraq. The High Representative reaffirmed the European Union’s commitment to support stabilisation efforts in Iraq and his intention to take forward the mandate received from the Foreign Affairs Council to promote de-escalation, dialogue and political solutions in the region.
On Sunday, he attended the first ministerial-level meeting of the International Follow-Up Committee to the Berlin Conference on Libya. In the meeting, he underlined the European Union’s commitment to support the process towards a sustainable political solution to the crisis in Libya, ready to further increasing the EU’s concrete contribution in support of the six baskets agreed in Berlin. Participants deplored the recent violations of the arms embargo and renewed their determination to contribute to its implementation. The High Representative informed on his intentions to discuss this further with EU Foreign Affairs ministers and to put forward proposals for the European Union to act in this regard at tomorrow’s Foreign Affairs Council. He also reiterated the European Union’s readiness to host one of the next follow-up Senior officials meeting in Brussels in the next months as well as taking over the co-chairmanship of one of the thematic working groups. The HR/VP also referred to the need to resolve the issue of oil blockage to avoid serious repercussions on the national economy and on the Libyan people. He pointed at the need to ensure more inclusiveness in the political process. The Co-chairs statement on the launching of the International Follow-up Committee on Libya can be found here.
As a key contributor to the panel discussion on ‘A Europe that projects' [see video], he outlined his vision and priorities for his mandate as High Representative, stressing the need for Europe to learn the language of power and importance to work together to become an effective global actor. To this end, building a common vision with an outlook towards the future will allow for a wider capacity for action.
In the margins of the conference, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell held high-level bilateral meetings during which he had the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations, the regional situation in the Gulf and Middle East and perspectives for the Middle East Peace Process, including with the Foreign Minister of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq, Russia, China and Turkey.
During his exchange with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, the High Representative/Vice-President also had an opportunity to discuss next steps on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran Nuclear Deal. He assured his counterparts of his resolve as coordinator to listen to all sides and continue the work with all JCPOA participants towards keeping the deal alive.
High Representative Borrell also had the opportunity to discuss ways to enhance EU – Japan cooperation on security and defence with Minister of Defence Kono. In the sidelines of the conference, he also met with representatives of think tanks and civil society, including George Soros, Rob Malley, David Milliband and Tony Blair, with whom he discussed global and regional challenges, including the situation in the Sahel, Venezuela and Yemen.