A Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, on the discussion within the Gymnich and the priorities of the Italian Presidency

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, VIII LEGISLATURE, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 2 SEPTEMBER 2014.

On 2 September 2014, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Federica Mogherini, delivered a speech before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament concerning the conclusions of the last Gymnich and the priorities of the Italian Presidency of the EU. She focused the attention on some of the key topics, such as the threat coming from ISIS, the conflicts in the areas of Syria, Iraq and Gaza and the need to tackle those problems by means of a regional approach. As to the issue concerning Ukraine and Russia, after recalling the Council conclusions that envisage a new package of sanctions, she said:

The main political points that need to be tackled, addressed and, hopefully, met, are the ceasefire – mutual but mainly sustainable – the control of borders, the stop of the flow of arms and military personnel through the borders from Russian territory to the Ukrainian one, the release of hostages and the unrestricted access to the MH17 crash site.

As to the other priorities of the Italian Presidency of the EU, she mentioned the implementation of association agreements, the protection of human rights and religious minorities and the fight against death penalty. Then she turned to the issue of enlargement. She said:

Italy has always been very much in favour of the enlargement of the Union. We see it as the core of the European project from the very beginning […] and today, with five hundred millions citizens, in a globalized world, we believe it is also the most effective tool that we have to play a role on a regional and global level. We support the enlargement now, today, because over the last four years the world and our neighborhood have not stood still. Instability and crises are all around and the enlargement policy and the policy of conditionality towards all those countries that are in or are expected to enter the process of accession remain the best and maybe the only guarantee for the success of their transformation into consolidated democracies, stable States and developed economies. […]

We support the enlargement now because also of our credibility, which is maybe at stake. Working on enlargement in good faith, obviously, does not mean at all artificially accelerating the process. In this respect, we fully support the new approach to enlargement that emphasises front-loading on political reforms in the enlargement process and a solid track record in reforms implementation […] We are convinced, on the European Union side, that is equally important that once the reforms are decided and implemented, the accession process moves ahead, for the credibility of the European Union. […]

During the first month of the Presidency, in July, I have decided to visit all the capitals of the Western Balkans […]. Each of them is at a different stage, each of them has a different political situation, some of them had elections, and some have had elections and are still reforming the government. I think we need to show concrete deliverables in the way forward.

I also hosted the Turkish Minister of EU affairs in Rome, in July. We will now see how things will develop with the new government in Turkey.

We believe that going on consistently with the enlargement process is not only in the interest of the single countries that are or hope to be in the process of accession, but is in our own interest as Europeans, as Members of the European Union, for a matter of stability, security and economic prosperity.

The full version of the speech can be found athttp://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20140902-0900-COMMITTEE-AFET

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