“The European Union strongly believes in a system that is based on international rules and norms, full respect of all individuals, regardless of their religion, of their ethnic background or their country or nationality or gender and we will continue to be this way,” Mogherini told the Brussels media after a meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
“We have in Europe a history – and here I think I do not speak only for the European Union – that has told us that every time that one invests in divisions and wars, you might end up being in a prison, if you build all walls around you. And we have a history and a tradition and an identity based on the fact that we celebrate when walls are broken down and bridges are built. We believe in cooperation, and the European Union will continue to work in a sense of cooperation and respect with all the countries of the region, regardless of the religion of their population - all of them. This is the European Union's way, I am convinced this is also the European way.”
The EU is the biggest donor in the world to the Syrian people and the neighbouring countries which are doing so much to support those forced to flee the country, making available more than 9 billion euros since the start of the fighting in Syria.
“For us, it is an investment first of all in their lives, but also in our own security, because any single day that a Syrian child is out of school exposes him or her to a future that is definitely not a future of commitment and engagement in the way we would like to see,” the High Representative said.
Looking ahead to Friday’s meeting of EU leaders in Malta, Mogherini pointed to the package of measures she presented last week to strengthen the EU’s capacity to manage the flow of migrants in the Central Mediterranean.
In her discussion with Minister Brende, the major topic was the work the EU and Norway do together in the Middle East, and the preparation for the Brussels conference on Syria which the High Representative is organising in spring.
“This year we hope to have a conference that will not only take stock of the pledges, but also allow us to turn the page for a political solution to the conflict.”