I was pleased to meet today Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić for the first time in my new capacity.
During our discussions we exchanged views on progress in the EU facilitated dialogue and implementation of agreements. I hope to see the high-level dialogue resume soon, but the EU expects Belgrade and Pristina to continue working on implementation in the meantime.
I am delighted to welcome you Prime Minister Garibashvili, together with the new Foreign Minister Beruchashvili and other Georgian government representatives, to Brussels today for the first EU-Georgia Association Council meeting.
I apologise for being late. That was not out of major divisions or discussions but out of real in-depth conversation on all the points that we had on the agenda, with all the ministers concentrating on the two main political issues that we decided to have on the agenda today: which is on one side Ukraine, and on the other side the Middle East Peace Process. But we also touched upon other issues to which I will come afterwards.
We have a new start this morning. Not only for Europe, as the Commission's slogan says, but also for Foreign Policy. We will start with the Ministers early this morning with a discussion on the working methods. If we want to be effective in the world, we need to be effective starting from here, from Brussels. So, we will try to share our common vision and make it owned by all the 28 Member States.
Following reports of a cease-fire breach on 12 November 2014 along the Line of Contact, in which a military helicopter is reported to have been shot down, it is essential that all sides show restraint and avoid any actions or statements which could escalate the situation. Furthermore, we call for an investigation into this incident.
The visit which Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić hosted yesterday and today for Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama represents an important step forward in relations between the two countries. We commend both leaders for their political courage in pressing ahead with a visit which was of its very nature both challenging and sensitive. We see this visit as the start of a new phase in relations between the two countries and trust that both leaders will work to build on it, to ensure further positive steps forward.
"Today, I have appointed Mr. Jean Paul Jacqué as independent expert to review EULEX Kosovo mandate implementation with a focus on the handling of the corruption allegations. Mr. Jacqué is a distinguished law professor with over 40 years of experience. In addition, his tenure as Director at the Council legal services offers him a unique expertise and perspective to review these allegations. I have asked Mr. Jacqué to revert to me within 4 months with his report and his recommendations.
"The most recent reports by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine about convoys in separatist held areas with substantial amounts of heavy weapons, tanks and troops without insignia moving westwards represent a very worrying development. This comes in addition to reported heavy outgoing shelling overnight from the Donetsk area and reports over the last week of increased movements of troops and equipment.
"I highly value the ideas on the way forward on Bosnia and Herzegovina presented last night in Berlin by German Foreign Minister, Frank Walter Steinmeier, and British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond. They advocate a new approach, which I have had the chance of discussing with them in the last days, with the objective to get Bosnia and Herzegovina moving again on the reform track so it can proceed on its EU path.