The Middle East Peace Process - or "rather the lack of a peace process between Israel and Palestine" as High Representative Federica Mogherini described it - was at the core of the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gyminch) in Tallinn on 8 September.
The ministers reaffirmed EU's unity and commitment to help the parties achieve the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security. At the end of the meeting, Mogherini announced the decision to carry on "a review of the modalities for the EU engagement on the ground, ... to make sure that all the financial support we give has an impact on the achievement of the political goal of the two states."
"We are by far the biggest donor, first of all to the Palestinian Authority, but also in humanitarian terms in Gaza, in many different places", the High Representative explained. "The purpose of this review, that will be conducted mainly by our colleagues in the European Commission, will be exactly to make sure that all the modalities of our engagement will be as efficient and as effective as they can be to reach the goal of the two-state solution." She then stressed that "this is not about changing or discussing to change our engagement in itself, but its modalities, to make sure that they respond to the political objective we are determined to achieve."
The European Union is determined to work with the partners in the region and the international community, starting with the United States. In this context the High Representative welcomed the engagement and the commitments of the U.S. administration on this file. "With the proliferation of conflicts we have around the world - Mogherini explained - it is good to see commitment in the White House, in Washington, by the new U.S. administration to this particular conflict that is very close to our hearts, as Europeans. It is also very close to our security, because we are in the region." The High Representative added: "What we expect from the United States is to stay committed, to stay engaged, to work with the rest of the international community through the Quartet and other means, in particular in relation with our Arab friends, to help the parties find a solution."
The High Representative also pointed to the Arab Peace Initiative as a strong point of reference for the work ahead, together with the regular dialogue carried out over the last years with regional partners, in particular with Jordan, with Egypt, with the countries in the Gulf, with the Arab League, to find a way to accompany the parties.
"As the UN Secretary General [António Guterres] mentioned just a few weeks ago visiting the region, we also do not see any alternative or any plan B to the creation of two states there. It is simply not realistic," Mogherini said at a press conference following the informal with ministers. "As our Arab friends and as the rest of the international community ... we do not see the parties possibly agreeing on a one-state solution or a zero-state solution, or a three-state solution, or a six-state solution," concluded the High Representative.