European Union External Action

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the European Council

Bruxelles, 14/12/2017 - 16:07, UNIQUE ID: 171214_12

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the European Council

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Let me say that today is a historic day, because exactly 10 years after the signing of the Lisbon Treaty we turn into reality one of the provisions of the Treaty: the Permanent Structured Cooperation [PESCO] was launched on Monday by the Foreign Ministers of 25 Member States - a historic decision that turns the European Union into a credible security provider, globally. We will now have 17 concrete projects on which the 25 Member States that have launched the Permanent Structured Cooperation will start to work, together with us.

The work will continue. My team is already preparing to launch further work on EU security and defence, not only on these 17 projects, but also on the possibility of deploying one of our battlegroups in one of the crisis theatres that we have around the world or the establishment of a European facility for peace.

I am going to suggest that in the next multi-annual financial framework we set up this facility to finance the level of ambition we have on security and defence, so that the Europe of defence and security is also financed at the adequate level. This is not going to be a militarisation of the EU budget, but a way to be more flexible, more agile and more operational when needed. We see that around the world there is a strong need for the European Union to be active as a point of reference, as a player, as others are taking different directions.

And I will also set up, now, in the coming days, a task force, here in Brussels, to coordinate the different strands of work on the European Union of security and defence. I have to say this is also the best way to honour the Lisbon Treaty that created my role as the double hat – Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative. It works, it has delivered, and now we have to continue coordinating all the different policies: Commission, Council, European Defence Agency and Member States. 

So, a good achievement today and we will share this celebration with Heads of State and Government.

Second point on migration; I will stick to the external work that we are doing on migration. This morning I convened here the first meeting of the task force with the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations. We had the IOM and the UNHCR here with us. I can tell you that thanks to European Union's work, the cooperation of the African Union and the work on the ground of the IOM [International Organisation for Migration] and the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] we have now returned voluntarily 16.000 migrants from inside Libya to the countries of origin, accompanying this with projects to reintegrate them into their communities. We aim at an additional 15.000 returns in the coming weeks.

There is a plan for the flights that are already foreseen and the EU will put an additional EUR 100 million to support this work. I will brief the Member States and the Heads of State and Government on this progress, which is a very positive development. We will need additional funds from the Member States for our work on the external side and we will also need Member States to guarantee that those who need international protection and are currently in Libya can be protected also in Europe – not only in Europe, but also in Europe - through the UNHCR mechanisms. So good progress on the external side. On the internal side it seems to me that we have more difficulties but I will stop here, as this is not my file.


Q.  On Jerusalem.

The European Union's position is extremely clear. We have expressed it in these days in a united manner - from my side, from the foreign ministers of the 28 Member States came a very clear message, including to Prime Minister [of Israel, Benjamin] Netanyahu on Monday. I think it was heard in a very loud and clear manner, not only in the Arab world, not only with our Palestinian friends, but also in Israel, in Washington and the international community at large. This morning I received Foreign Minister of Indonesia [Ms Retno Marsudi] – the largest Muslim country in the world - who came here to discuss about Jerusalem, appreciating the position of the EU. The world knows where the EU stands on Jerusalem – the capital of two states along 1967 lines. The European Union's position is clear, determined and very well known. We are now working on giving this a perspective. Heads of State and Governments will decide whether they want to include this position in their formal statement or not but this is and will stay the consolidated position of the EU in any case.

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