European Union External Action

EU foreign policy, Libya & Ukraine discussed during Federica Mogherini's Iberian visit

18/02/2015 - 00:00
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A European perspective on foreign and security policy, recent events in Libya, the ceasefire in Ukraine and Europe's relations with Latin America were key issues when EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini visited Spain and Portugal on 16-17 February. It came as part of a pledge she made to travel to all 28 countries in the EU in the first six months of her term in office to discuss the direction of foreign and security policy.

Federica Mogherini with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey

One of the key messages she delivered was that "Europe's strength lies in our unity, no challenge in our world or neighbourhood that can be tackled by one member state alone, working on a common foreign and security policy is the only hope of solving the crises around us."

In Madrid on Monday she met with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo, King Felipe VI and Spanish Parliamentarians. In comments to the press she noted that "in Madrid there was always a European attitude in Foreign policy, security and defence".

In Lisbon on Tuesday she met with Prime Minister Pedro Coelho, Foreign Minister Rui Machete, Defence Minster José Pedro Aguiar-Branco and President Aníbal Cavaco Silva as well as Think Tanks. She noted that it was the first visit of an EU High Representative to the country and hoped it would not be the last.

Libya: Threat of disintegration & Da'esh

The violence in Libya and the murder by Da'esh (ISIS) of Egyptian Coptic's which came just before she arrived in Madrid, dominated many discussions. In both Spain and Portugal she stressed that "Libya faced a double threat: of a country breaking apart and where Da'esh is taking power". She went on to say "the only possible way of managing the security challenges we have at our southern borders is to work together with the UN when it comes to Libya, to have the process that (UN envoy) Bernardino Leon is trying to develop, bringing the different parts of Libya around an effort of unity that could give a start to some sort of authority that could manage the situation."

She went on to say that the fight against Da'esh in Libya must be Libyan led and also stressed the importance of regional actors like Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia. She also said it is not for the EU to make a military contribution.

In Madrid she held talks with UN envoy for Libya Bernadino Leon and said that later in the week she would meet US Secretary of State John Kerry and Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Washington.


The Minsk ceasefire agreement came into force at the weekend and in comments to the press in Madrid on Monday Mrs Mogherini commented. "I would say that not only the agreement that was reached last week in Minsk was a positive step, but also the first steps of the implementation,  the entry into force of the ceasefire - even if very fragile, even with many limits - is the only option for hope of a solution of the conflict that we have".

She went on to say "we the European Union are working day and night in Kyiv with our people there to support the OSCE in the monitoring and in the implementation of the agreement on the ground. We are providing to the OSCE support in concrete terms, technical and financial support."

Latin America

Mogherini also discussed EU relations with Latin America with both Spanish and Portuguese leaders. In June there will be a crucial summit between the EU and Latin America. She pledged her personal involvement to relaunch this strategic partnership and that both Portugal and Spain had important interests and knowledge to share and would be willing to support re-launch of relations between EU and Latin America and the Caribbean. She said her presence at a recent CELAC summit demonstrated her personal commitment. Speaking to the press Mrs Mogherini noted that recent developments in Cuba and Colombia were extremely important.

Useful links:

Mission to Spain

Mission to Portugal