An official website of the European Union. See all European Institutions
Check against delivery!
Let me start with something that is not on our agenda today, but I just come from an informal working breakfast with the Foreign Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [Nikola Dimitrov] together with Foreign Ministers of Member States.
Let me say that we are all very encouraged by the progress made especially on the negotiations between Skopje and Athens on the name issue. We will all work to support and accompany, hopefully, a positive outcome of these important negotiations.
Today on the agenda of the Foreign Ministers we have first and foremost our work to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA]. You know that we have been acting already at European Union level to put in place a set of measures, to make sure that the nuclear agreement is preserved and the economic investments from the European side, but also from other sides in the world are protected.
Today, we will discuss this further with the Member States for the first time since the announcement of the US withdrawal from the agreement. This will allow Member States to contribute and complement, on their side, to the measures we have put in place at the level of the European Union.
I will update the Ministers on the good Joint Commission meeting we had last Friday in Vienna, where the remaining countries, without the United States, met at the level of Deputy Ministers, together also with Director General of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya] Amano that confirmed for the 11th time that Iran is fully compliant with all its nuclear related commitments on the deal.
We will work on this and we will also have the opportunity to exchange with the Ministers and take decisions, so you will see a set of conclusions adopted today on the situation in Venezuela after the elections last week. We will also tackle the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, our negotiations with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific countries for the Post-Cotonou framework, and we will have a discussion with the Ministers on the situation in Gaza.
As you know, the commitment from the European Union and Member States to continue to work for a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states is solid; and we will brainstorm with the Ministers on how we can try to move this agenda forward.
Q. You are Italian, are you concerned about the [Italian] situation, because the new elections are actually also a danger for the Eurozone and the EU?
I have full trust, as I believe all Italians have, in the Italian institutions, starting with the Italian President, who is the guarantor of the Italian constitution, which is a wonderful constitution - very solid. I am confident that the Italian institutions and the President of the Republic [of Italy] will prove to be, as always, serving the interest of the Italian citizens that, by the way, coincides also with the strength of the European Union. I noticed today that the level of trust that Italians have in the European Union has gone up in the last days. It is now at 41 percent. I believe this is something we should all reflect on.
Q. About the situation in Gaza, has the EU provided any kind of strategy for the situation now that it is very difficult - as you warned before?
We warned that political moves might have consequences and, unfortunately, we were proven to be right. We would have preferred not to be right on this occasion. We are in close contact, especially with our partners in the region, starting from Jordan - I just spoke with the Foreign Minister [Ayman Safadi] a couple of days ago - but also Egypt, the League of Arab States and obviously our counterparts themselves, Israel, Palestine, and our American friends, to try to, first of all, avoid that further losses of life happen and to tackle the humanitarian situation - a very important work we are doing together with Norway to bring in humanitarian urgent aid, and you know that the European Union is a champion in this.
But all the work we can do on that side needs also a political horizon, and this is why we keep the objective and the perspective of the two states on the agenda. We believe it is essential to do it to give hope to the people of Gaza, not only of Gaza, but also of the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the entire Arab world.
Q. Iran needs guarantees. Can the EU give them guarantees?
I believe we have been working enormously these weeks, together also with the Iranians and with France, Germany and the UK, but also with all the other Member States and some other international partners, to clarify one point: that the European Union decisions are taken by Europeans, are not exposed to decisions taken elsewhere and we have the instruments to accompany and protect our economic investments, especially when they match our security interests. This is the exercise we are doing; nobody believes it is going to be an easy exercise, but we are determined to do it.
Q. On the investigation on MH17 accident.
The outcome of the investigation has been a very important moment for us. You know that the European Union has always been fully supportive of the investigation exercise and we, together at 28, reaffirmed our full support to the outcome of this investigation and to the efforts to bring accountability. And we call upon Russia to take its responsibilities and contribute to the efforts to establish accountability.
Link to the video: https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I156198