Tag Archives: Borrell

EU-Russia: swift response

Brussels 23.02.2022 EU adopts package of restrictive measures in response to Russian recognition of self-proclaimed Republics, which were areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. The Council today adopted on a package of measures to respond to the decision by the Russian Federation to proceed with the recognition of the “non-government controlled areas” of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent entities, and the subsequent decision to send Russian troops into these areas in accordance with the treaties signed with the representatives of these entities. (Image above: Charles Michel, archive).

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Such decisions are illegal and unacceptable. They violate international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Russia’s own international commitments and further escalate the crisis.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The package agreed today includes:

Targeted restrictive measures:

“Within the existing framework for the restrictive measures, the EU will extend actions to cover all the 351 members of the Russian State Duma (Lower Chamber of Parliament), who voted on 15 February in favour of the appeal to President Putin to recognise the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk ”Republics”.

“Moreover targeted restrictive measures will be imposed on additional 27 high profile individuals and entities, who have played a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. These include decision makers such as members of the government, who were involved in the illegal decisions; banks and business persons/oligarchs supporting financially or materially Russian operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk’s territories, or benefitting from them; senior military officers, who played a role in the invasion and destabilisation actions; and individuals responsible for leading a disinformation war against Ukraine.

“Restrictive measures include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory.

– Restrictions on economic relations with the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts

“New measures will target trade from the two non-government controlled regions to and from the EU, to ensure that those responsible clearly feel the economic consequences of their illegal and aggressive actions.

“Today’s decision will introduce in particular an import ban on goods from the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, restrictions on trade and investments related to certain economic sectors, a prohibition to supply tourism services, and an export ban for certain goods and technologies.

– Financial restrictions

“The Council decided to introduce a sectoral prohibition to finance the Russian Federation, its government and Central Bank. By restraining the ability of the Russian state and government to access the EU’s capital and financial markets and services, the EU aims to limit the financing of escalatory and aggressive policies.

“The EU urges Russia to reverse the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, uphold its commitments, abide by international law and return to the discussions within the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group. The EU also calls on other states not to follow Russia’s illegal decision to recognise this proclaimed independence.

“The EU stands ready to swiftly adopt more wide-ranging political and economic sanctions in case of need, and reiterates its unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

“The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, will be published soon in the Official Journal.

Restrictive measures on violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity will with today’s additional listings apply to a total of 555 individuals and 52 entities.

Borrell: Europe at “critical juncture”

Brussels 22.02.2022 The reunion of the EU top diplomat in Foreign Affairs Council has been called “the longest and most intense” among remembered by Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative, who shared with Brussels press the conclusions.

“Obviously, the main topic was the situation in Ukraine. In Ukraine, Russia has created the biggest threat to peace and stability in Europe since the Second World War. In Europe – the biggest threat to peace and stability. We are at a critical juncture. Everything we believe in and has been framing our lives – international rules, principles and progress achieved since the end of the Cold War – all that is being challenged.

“We have condemned the Russian military build-up close to Ukraine, the increased ceasefire violations and provocations from the Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“We have also condemned actions, staged events and information manipulations that are clearly aimed at creating a pretext for military escalation against Ukraine. It is a classical way of behaving. You create a pretext for a military escalation.
We commend Ukraine for its restraint in face of this intimidation and violations of Minsk agreements and international law.

“In the meantime, while we were discussing inside the Council meeting, we were following the discussions of the Russian Security Council with strong concern. We understand that the final decision has not been taken yet. We call upon President [of Russia, Vladimir] Putin to respect international law and the Minsk agreements and expect him not to recognise the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. We are ready to react with a strong, united front in case he should decide to do so. We expect that he will not, but if he does, we will react with a strong and united front.

“Today we have had Foreign Minister [of Ukraine Dmytro] Kuleba and we have reaffirmed our unity, our resolve and solidarity with Ukraine. Because the Ukrainian security is our security.
We will continue supporting Ukraine on all fronts. Today we have adopted formally the Decision proposed by the Commission to provide 1.2 billion euros in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.

“We have also decided to provide support to Ukraine’s Army with Professional Military Education [reform] developed under the European Peace Facility. We will increase our support against cyber-attacks and in countering disinformation. We will send a mission of experts to help Ukraine to face cyber-attacks.
We have also been looking into the possibility of a joint session of the Foreign Affairs Council, with the Ukrainian partners in Kyiv.

“I want to confirm that our embassies and diplomatic missions remain open and fully operational. With the single exception of one country, all others remain in Kyiv. Their embassies are there, open and operational, plus the European Union Delegation.

“It will be soon 8 years since Russia invaded and illegally annexed Crimea. I want to repeat again that any further aggression against Ukraine would have a strong answer from the European Union. But I want to add that this will apply also to Belarus, should an attack be conducted from its territory or with its involvement”.

Borrell: EU unity towards Ukraine crisis

Strasbourg 16.02.2022 “What happens in Ukraine will mark the future of humanity. All human beings should be concerned about what happens there, because if the law of the strongest is imposed again and one country can threaten another and can attack it and disaggregate it territorially, we will go back in history” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell during the European Parliament plenary debate in Strasbourg.

“The great success of the European Union is, precisely, having renounced war as a way of resolving conflicts. And that’s why we have to stand with Ukraine, trying to prevent a war on our borders. That forms a fundamental part of what we call the common security and defense policy, which I have the honor to try to develop. And the presence here, today, in this plenary session, of the institutions of the Union: the European Council, with its president; the European Commission, with its president; and the Council [of the European Union], which I have the honor of representing and presiding over its foreign affairs and defense formations, marks European unity in the face of possible Russian aggression against Ukraine.

“This unity has become stronger and more apparent these days. And I think that is one of the great positive consequences of this crisis. There has been a common approximation and all the European States have responded unanimously to a response that will have to materialise in what we call sanctions or coercive measures according to the Treaty. Sanctions that must be approved by the Council [of the European Union], under the proposal of the High Representative and that will have been drawn up with the invaluable cooperation of the European Commission, to measure their costs and consequences. And certainly under the political leadership of the European Council. That will happen if Russia attacks Ukraine.

‘But let me insist on the fundamental aspect of our Union, which is the most positive consequence of this crisis. A crisis that has been based on the threat to the territorial integrity of a State. A crisis that affects the security structure in Europe, which cannot be called into question through threats. A crisis that affects the right of each sovereign State to freely choose its security structures and its international relations.

‘Allow me to talk a little bit about which has been the role of European diplomacy in these events. It has been said that Europe was missing in action. We have heard that the Europeans were missing in action and that things were happening without our presence and without our participation, led by the United States, who were negotiating over our head. I think that we have to respond to this criticism, which seems unfounded for several reasons.

‘First, because the Member States of the European Union have been consistently debating the issue of security in Europe and Ukraine and we have achieved a remarkable unity. [Secondly] Because several Member States – France and Germany – have taken a number of political initiatives to promote a peaceful settlement of the crisis. And these initiatives have been carried out in coherence with the position of the European Union and in conditions of great transparency. And third, because Russia deliberately tried to ignore the existence of the European Union by sending letters only to the United States and NATO in December. Considering that we are completely irrelevant and that we have nothing to say about the security issues in Europe. For Moscow, the security in Europe is being defined in Washington.

‘Later, when they noticed that despite this dismissive attitude, nothing was going on, Mr [Sergey] Lavrov [Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia] finally decided to send a letter to the 27 Member States that he had ignored until now. Why such a U-turn in the Russian position?

‘[It is] For two reasons. First, because they realized that the European front was not cracked and that the Atlantic solidarity was very strong. So, he tried the manoeuvre, which was to send letters to the 27 Member States, hoping to have 27 different answers. But, in this case, Mr Lavrov did not succeed, because we sent him a single letter, saving him the time to read 27 letters, all of them equal. Just one. One letter representing the position of the European Union on behalf of the 27 Member States. And this is a good example of how we, Europeans, can work together, and together with our allies, with the United States and other like-minded countries, with which we have had a continuous and very positive coordination. So, we have been present, participating in the negotiations – if we can call them negotiations or, at least, conversations – until now.

What can we envisage next? Well, we do not know, nobody knows. There are encouraging signs, but also very worrisome events, like the vote in the Duma [yesterday] asking Putin to recognise the independence of the two, let us say, “republics” in the Donbas. We do not know what Putin is going to do. But what is clear is that we have to continue offering both things at the same time: the will to negotiate, to be ready to participate in talks – because, yes, Russia has also security concerns that have to be taken into consideration – and on the other hand, to prepare our capacity to respond, our dissuasion tools, sanctions, as the President of the Commission and the President of the Council have been referring to.

On that, we have been working, and on that, we are ready to act. But, most of all, we are ready to continue negotiations, talks, in order to look for a diplomatic solution to the worst crisis that Europe is living since the end of the Cold War.

And I repeat again, this crisis not only affects the Ukrainians, not only the Europeans, it affects the direction of humankind.

EU mission in Kyiv stays functional

Brussels 14.02.2022 “The EU and its member states are coordinating their actions in view of the current threats on Ukraine” reads the declaration by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU on diplomatic presence in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Image above: Kyiv, archive).

“Our diplomatic missions are not closing. They remain in Kyiv and continue to operate in support to EU citizens and in cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities. Staff presence and travel advice to EU citizens are being adjusted as necessary to take into account security circumstances”.

“We reaffirm our continued support to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and diplomatic efforts towards de-escalation. We recall that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe cost in response” the statement concludes.

Borrell travels to Washington D.C.

Brussels 06.02.2022 The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell will travel to Washington, DC, on 7-8 February, according to the announcement of the European External Action Service.

On 7 February Borrell will hold a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken to discuss pressing issues on the international agenda to reconfirm the strength of the transatlantic partnership at a crucial moment for global diplomacy.

The EU top diplomat will then co chair alongside EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson the EU-US Energy Council from the EU side and with Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, on the US side.

The EU-US Energy Council will be crucial to take forward cooperation on energy security and on the joint commitment to accelerate a just and clean energy transition to climate neutrality for citizens of the EU, the United States, and around the globe. The event comes at a pivotal moment for addressing energy supply to address the availability of natural gas and volatile prices.

On 8 February, Borrell will speak at the inaugural event of the Jean Monnet Conversations series, co-organised by the EU Delegation, the French Embassy and The Atlantic.

Further the chief of the EU diplomacy is also due to meet with Members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Kazakhstan: Borrell calls for restraint

Brussels 09.01.2022 Anna van Densky “We are concerned by the violence which has erupted, following peaceful protests, in Kazakhstan, which is an important partner for the European Union, with an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in force, and for the stability of the region” reads the Declaration by High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union on the situation Kazakhstan.(Image: social media).

“We deeply regret the loss of life and strongly condemn the widespread acts of violence. It is important to prevent further escalations, to avoid any incitement to violence, to exercise restraint at all times, and to avoid exploitation of unrest for other purposes.

“We stand ready to provide assistance for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Outside military support should respect the sovereignty and independence of Kazakhstan as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens.

“We urge Kazakhstan’s authorities to uphold their commitments at this challenging time, including respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of their citizens, particularly, the freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and of the media”.

More than 160 people were killed and 5,000 arrested in Kazakhstan after the riots that shook Central Asia’s largest country over the past week. The interior ministry, quoted on Sunday, January 9, by local media, said initial estimates put property damage at about 175 million euros ($198m) after the wide-spread violence.

Borrell reaffirmed EU support to Ukraine

Brussels 22.12.2021 On 23 December 2021, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell held a phone call with Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmitry Kuleba to discuss the security situation in Eastern Europe in light of Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine.

The military build-up has created new threats and fears of invasion.

High Representative reaffirmed the European Union‘s firm and continued support to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. He stressed that any further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe costs. He underlined the need for Russia to de-escalate and fully implement the Minsk agreements.

The EU is closely coordinating with transatlantic and other like-minded partners, including in relation to the two draft treaties affecting the European security architecture presented by Russia.

Any real discussion on security in Europe must build on and strengthen OSCE and UN commitments and obligations – true pillars of the European security architecture – and not lead to their erosion. The EU remains committed to the right of every country to make its sovereign choices in foreign and security policy.

High Representative Borrell and Foreign Minister Kuleba agreed to stay in close contact.

Borrell: EU “steadfast by Ukraine”

Strasbourg 15.12.2021 “We changed the geographical situation. We changed the latitude and the longitude of the coordinates, but the problem is also very worrying. Now we talk about the situation in the Ukrainian border and in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, while addressing the Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on December 14.(Image above: illustration).

“I have been talking a lot about it during this weekend in Liverpool, together with my fellow colleagues of the G7, the biggest democracies in the world. I have been talking a lot with Secretary of State [of the United States, Antony] Blinken and we will talk a lot about it in the next European Union Council. We talked yesterday also about it with my fellow Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

“I think I have all the information I may have in order to come here to discuss with you about the Russian military build-up around Ukraine.

“First, facts.

“Since November, Russia has been massing troops and weapons in an unusual manner around Ukraine’s borders. Ukraine is our direct neighbour and border. It is also a close and strategic partner. So it is normal that we are worried about this movements of Russian troops.

“I had the opportunity also to talk about this with the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov, during the OSCE Meeting in Stockholm and with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Ukraine [Dmytro Kuleba]. In the OSCE meeting in Stockholm, we witnessed a lively exchange of views between Minister Lavrov and Secretary of State Blinken about this issue.

“We at the European Union maintain regular contacts with President [of Ukraine, Vladimir] Zelensky, Prime Minister [Denys] Shmyhal, and Foreign Minister Kuleba. We express at all levels our political support to Ukraine. We publicly recall our unwavering support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

“According to the Russian sources, nothing happened. They are only moving their troops inside their territory; they are not violating any international law, nor any constitutional internal rule. Certainly, they are moving troops inside their borders but, with the precedent, with what has happened between Ukraine and Russia, it is quite justified that the Ukrainians are worried and that we have to express our political support.

“But today we are on prevention mode. Today we are trying to avoid further escalation. And to work on all avenues that we can, in order to deter further Russian effort. Today we are in a deterring-mode, prevention-mode, dissuasion-mode. In order to avoid the crisis to escalate, and to reach a level of a military conflict. We are doing what we can for that.

“Yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Council, our members reiterated our support to Ukraine. And also, we have recently adopted a set of assistance measures under the European Peace Facility, a new financial tool which is under my political implementation authority, in supporting Ukrainian armed forces in areas including the provision of military, medical, engineering equipment, mobility, logistics and cyber-defence support. Not providing lethal arms, but on all the fields that an army requires in order to be operational. This is a tangible way of showing our support to strengthening Ukrainian resilience and also, our support to the Ukrainian reform agenda since 2014. Because the reforms inside Ukraine are an important component of Ukrainians overall resilience to external challenges. The better the Ukrainian democracy works, the higher quality they have on fighting internal problems, the stronger they will be in facing external challenges.

“We have today to talk about an attempt to undermine further Ukrainian territorial integrity, which was jeopardised when Russia took over Crimea. And this would come, if it happens again, in severe political consequences and with a high political and economic cost for Russia, if this was the case.

“We have to act in unity, we are coordinating closely with our transatlantic and like-minded partners. We did that on Sunday. Our G7 statement was clear in this position: we called on Russia to de-escalate, to pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments of transparency of military activities as President [of the United Sates, Joe] Biden also did in his call with President [of Russia, Vladimir] Putin on 7 December.

“In the meantime, we are in deterring, dissuasion, prevention-mode, we continue to do a full diplomatic outreach. We reconfirm our support to France and Germany in the Normandy Format to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We are studying the different scenarios that one could imagine could happen in the following days or weeks. We recall [that] Russia’s responsibility in implementing the Minsk Agreements remains a key issue”.

G7: calls Russia to de-escalate

Brussels 12.12.2021 “We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in our condemnation of Russia’s military build-up and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine”.

“We call on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December. We reconfirm our support for the efforts of France and Germany in the Normandy Format to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine”.

“Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response”.

“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint”.

“We will intensify our cooperation on our common and comprehensive response”.

EU diplomacy focus on Belarus

Brussels 15.11.2021 “First, we are going to have the Foreign Affairs Council. After [this] we are going to have the meeting with the Ministers of the Eastern Partnership. And after this, we will have the Jumbo meeting with Foreign and Defense Ministers to start talking about the Strategic Compass” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell at doorstep of the meeting of the ministers in Brussels.(Image: Europa building, archive)

“On the Foreign Affairs Ministers Council: we are going to review the whole set of problems starting certainly with the situation in Belarus. Yesterday, I had phone calls with my Polish [Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau], Lithuanian [Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis] and Belarusian Minister [Vladimir Makei] also with the Secretary General of the United Nations [António Guterres] in order to prepare the meeting. We had the opportunity to share with the Secretary General of the United Nations how things are going on the ground. I talked to the Belarussian Minister to tell him that the situation was totally unacceptable that humanitarian help has to be provided. And that we have to think about how we can solve the problem starting by stopping the [migration] flow. Stopping the flights. This is almost done.

“During these days we have been talking with countries of origin and transit. My colleague [Vice-President Margaritis] Schinas is in Bagdad. And I think that from my point of view, the inflow of things are becoming under control. But we have to provide humanitarian assistance to these people and to prevent any kind of hybrid attack against the European Union border. This is something that will take an important part of our meeting.

“But there are many other issues. The situation in the Western Balkans, in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where there are tendencies which are undermining the unity of the country and hampering its development, and its way towards the European Union. The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina also. And in general, the situation in the Balkans, which is not especially good.

“The Sahel will also be part of our work today. Last night, there was another attack in Burkina Faso. 20 more people dead, killed. Our security starts in the Sahel and we had to engage more with the region.

“We will talk also about the situation in Varosha, in Cyprus, in Syria; but mainly in Sudan and Ethiopia. We have to try to avoid [an] implosion of the country. The situation in Ethiopia is becoming worse by every moment and we will try to avoid the implosion of the country”.

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