Tag Archives: Josep Borrell

EUCO: EU-Turkey relations on rocks

10.12.2020 Brussels The EU top diplomat Josep BoTrrell upon arrival at the European Council made the following remarks:

“We have three important [external affairs] items today on the agenda of the European Union Council: we have Turkey, once again; we have our relations with the US and the prospects of the new presidency; and we have the Southern Neighbourhood”.

“The Southern Neighbourhood is a very important part of the world for us. We are closely working with them in order to push for their progress but we have to do more. I hope that the debate in the Council today will provide guidelines for this continued effort and to prepare the [Joint] Communication that the Commission will put forward in February.

“We have just celebrated the anniversary of the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona. This was also an important event and I will inform the Council about this meeting.

“We are also going to discuss the relationship with the US – the prospects for the new administration, how to engage with them. We hope that this is going to be a more positive one. It has been a bumpy road in the last years, and there is a lot of hope for the future work between the European Union and the US.

“On Turkey, the Foreign Affairs Council reviewed the latest events and we cannot provide a positive assessment. The behaviour of Turkey has not changed fundamentally. We can even say that, from some points of view, things have been worsening. The assessment is not a positive one and we have to deal with it”.

EU new regime of sanctions

The Council today adopted a decision and a regulation establishing a global human rights sanctions regime. For the first time, the EU is equipping itself with a framework that will allow it to target individuals, entities and bodies – including state and non-state actors – responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred.

Such restrictive measures will provide for a travel ban applying to individuals, and the freezing of funds applying to both individuals and entities. In addition, persons and entities in the EU will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed, either directly or indirectly.

The framework for targeted restrictive measures applies to acts such as genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations or abuses (e.g. torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests or detentions). Other human rights violations or abuses can also fall under the scope of the sanctions regime where those violations or abuses are widespread, systematic or are otherwise of serious concern as regards the objectives of the common foreign and security policy set out in the Treaty (Article 21 TEU).

It will be for the Council, acting upon a proposal from a member state or from the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to establish, review and amend the sanctions list.

Today’s decision emphasises that the promotion and protection of human rights remain a cornerstone and priority of EU external action and reflects the EU’s determination to address serious human rights violations and abuses.

The relevant legal acts have been published in the Official Journal.

On 9 December 2019, the Council welcomed the launch by the High Representative of preparatory work to establish an EU regime of general scope for restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses.

On 17 November 2020, the Council approved conclusions on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 which set out the EU’s level of ambition and priorities in this field in its relations with all third countries. In the EU Action Plan, the EU committed to developing a new horizontal EU global human rights sanctions regime to tackle serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide.

EEAS: Stefano Sannino next SecGen

High Representative Josep Borrell decided to appoint Stefano Sannino as next Secretary General of European External Action Service (EEAS).

“I want to express my profound gratitude to Helga Maria Schmid for the remarkable achievements she has accomplished as Secretary General and for having built the EEAS into what it is today. Her contribution to the European Union’s global action is unrivalled. I look forward to continue working with Stefano Sannino, as new Secretary General of the EEAS. He brings with him a long and rich European diplomatic experience from his senior service to both the European Union institutions and the Italian government. I cannot think of a better candidate to steer the EEAS into its second decade.“

This decision will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

Stefano Sannino worked as EEAS Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues since February 2020. Previously, he was the Ambassador of Italy to Spain and the Italian Permanent Representative to the European Union. Mr. Sannino also served as Director General for Enlargement in the European Commission. He will be following Helga Maria Schmid, who has been Secretary General of the EEAS since 1 September 2016 and EEAS Deputy Secretary General/Political Director since 2011.

Mediterranean “least integrated”

Brussels 29.11.2020 The year 2020 marks the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the Barcelona Process. The EU diplomacy took a stock of what has been achieved during a quarter of a century of dialogue and cooperation as well as to reflect on the future of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. (Image: Barcelona)
The 5th UfM Regional Forum brought together the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the UfM Member States on 27 November 2020 to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of the Barcelona Process and reiterate their engagement in Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and cooperation.

“This year is especially difficult because the coronavirus pandemic and its tremendous socioeconomic consequences have reminded us how much interrelated, and more than interrelated, how interdependent we are. We share a common geography. And our destiny in the future will depend on how we work together today” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said in his remarks for press after the Forum.

“That is why in this conference everybody agreed on the need to reinforce our determination to tackle challenges together and without delay – for the stability and prosperity of the region but first of all, for the benefit of the people living there…”

“Between the two shores of the Mediterranean, the gap on revenue per head is 16 times fold… It means that
And there are a lot of young people, there is a new generation. We have to give them hope and a reason to stay and invest in their own countries” Borrell continued.

“Can we say that the Mediterranean [region] is in a worse shape today than 25 years ago? I am afraid yes, from many points of views. It is fragmented economically, it remains one of the least integrated region in the world and we have been discussing a lot about it today. The countries in North Africa or the South Mediterranean they only have 5% of their trade among them[selves]. Which you have to compare with trade among European Union Member States to see how different is the integration in both shores of the Mediterranean” the diplomat concluded.

EU defence progress

Brussels, 20.11.2020 The Council approved conclusions on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) Strategic Review 2020. The review assesses the progress made on PESCO and provides guidance for the next phase (2021-2025) on the overall aim, policy goals, incentives and projects. (Image: Dassault Rafale factory, France).

The review highlights the need to fulfil the more binding commitments and achieve concrete outputs and tangible deliverables by 2025.

It stresses the importance of making tangible progress towards a coherent Full Spectrum Force Package that strengthens the EU’s military ability to act. It also highlights and reaffirms key objectives such as those connected to defence investments, more systematic use of EU defence tools in national planning processes, enhancing the EU’s operational effectiveness and developing the necessary capabilities.

The review highlights some incentives for giving PESCO more visibility at the political level and increasing the degree of transparency between member states on the way in which they are fulfilling their commitments, notably in the operational area.

The review also highlights a list of 26 PESCO projects which will deliver concrete results or reach full operational capability before the end of 2025.

Launched in December 2017, PESCO represents a step-change in defence cooperation within the European Union. PESCO is a framework which allows willing and able EU member states to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in shared projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of their armed forces.

To date 25 EU member states have undertaken binding commitments that form the basis of PESCO. There are currently 46 collaborative projects in various areas: training facilities, land formation systems, maritime and air systems, cyber, and enabling joint multiple services or space projects.

The 25 member states participating in PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

On 5 November, the Council established the general conditions under which non-EU countries could exceptionally be invited to participate in individual PESCO projects, thereby paving the way for stronger and more ambitious defence cooperation with partners in the EU framework.

EU Action plan on Human rights

Brussels 19.11.2020 The Council has approved conclusions on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024. The Action Plan sets out the EU’s level of ambition and priorities in this field in its relations with all third countries.

With this Action Plan, the Council reaffirms the EU’s strong commitment to further advancing universal values for all.

The conclusions acknowledge that while there have been leaps forward, there has also been a pushback against the universality and indivisibility of human rights. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences have had an increasingly negative impact on all human rights, democracy and rule of law, deepening pre-existing inequalities and increasing pressure on persons in vulnerable situations.

No one should be left behind, no human right ignored. To this end the EU and its member states will use the full range of their instruments, in all areas of external action, to focus on and further strengthen EU’s global leadership in the field of human rights and democracy and in the implementation of the EU Action Plan.

In 2012, the EU adopted the Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy which set out the principles, objectives and priorities designed to improve the effectiveness and consistency of EU policy in these areas. To implement the EU Strategic Framework of 2012, the EU has adopted two EU Action Plans (2012-2014 and 2015-2019).

The new Action Plan for 2020-2024 builds on the previous action plans and continues to focus on long-standing priorities such as supporting human rights defenders and the fight against the death penalty.

By identifying five overarching priorities: (1) protecting and empowering individuals; (2) building resilient, inclusive and democratic societies; (3) promoting a global system for human rights and democracy; (4) new technologies: harnessing opportunities and addressing challenges; and (5) delivering by working together, the Action Plan also reflects the changing context with attention to new technologies and to the link between global environmental challenges and human rights.

Virtual Ambassadors conference

The annual European Union Ambassadors` conference is taking place between the 9th and 13th of November, for the first time in a virtual format.

The conference brings together EU Ambassadors from the EU`s 143 EU Delegations and Offices around the world, in addition to the heads of EU military and civilian operations and the heads of the European Commission Representations in the 27 EU Member States.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the Commission Josep Borrell (pictured) opened the conference with a public address on Monday at 12:00 CET. His address has been broadcasted live on the European Commission’s audiovisual service, Europe by Satellite. The address by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, at 14:30 CET on Tuesday 10 November will also be broadcast live, as will Josep Borrell’s closing address on Friday 13 November at 11:30 CET.

The Ambassadors’ conference includes exchanges with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, Commission Executive Vice-Presidents Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager, and Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission Vice-Presidents Maroš Šefčovič and Věra Jourová, Commissioners Ylva Johansson and Jutta Urpilainen, and the President of the European Investment Bank, President Werner Hoyer.

The Ambassadors’ conference is a yearly event that allows for an open exchange between participants and high-level speakers on the European Union’s internal and external activities, global developments, and the EU’s strategic outlook. Sessions include multilateralism in an increasingly multi-polar environment and how to uphold the rules-based international order; the EU’s leading role in global climate action; the global response to the coronavirus; the EU’s Security and Defence agenda; enhancing trade and the EU’s strategic autonomy; and on promoting democracy, human rights and gender equality in an age of disinformation and battles of narratives. The event will also discuss migration policy, promoting the EU’s outreach to international partners, and enhancing the EU`s public diplomacy efforts.
AMENDMENT:
So we need to be mobilised on all fronts and I want to ask you to do your part so that, as we often say, ‘Europe comes out of the crisis stronger’. This is an appeal to all of you to do whatever you can to make it a reality. Europe is being built on crises and we have to come out of the crisis stronger” the EU top diplomat said, while addressing the virtual congregation.
The world needs an engaged European Union, able to act. But also Europeans need an engaged European Union, able to act. The world and we Europeans need a European Union ready to participate in the big changes that the world will be facing. And we need to act as if our reputation is on the line – because it is on the line”.

Borrell warns Erdogan against isolation

Brussels, 25.10.2020 Today the head of the European Union (EU) diplomacy Josep Borrell reacted upon the inflammatory rhetoric of President Erdogan, warning him against international isolation of Turkey as the direct result of the confrontational policy. The EU top diplomat considered the remarks of the Turkish head of state were “unacceptable”, and called on Ankara to “stop this dangerous spiral”. (Image: archive)

The diplomat reminded President Erdogan about the recent conclusions of the European Council containing a “real offer” to relaunch our relationship. He has underlined that “political will” from the Turkish authorities is needed on this positive agenda. Otherwise, Turkey will be even more isolated.

Paris said it was recalling its envoy to Ankara H.E.Hervé MAGRO for consultations after comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggesting French counterpart Emmanuel Macron needed a “mental health” treatment that quai d’Orsay condemned as unacceptable.

President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a plan to defend France’s secular values against “Islamist radicalism”, adding that Islam was a religion “in crisis”. The assessment caused a vivid reaction among Muslim communities across the world, calling for boycotting French export products.

Three weeks ago the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told reporters that the EU wanted “a positive and constructive relationship with Turkey and this would be also be very much in Ankara’s interest”.
The EU top executive also warned that it would only work if the “provocations and pressures stop.”

“We therefore expect that Turkey from now on abstains from unilateral actions. In case of such renewed actions by Ankara, the EU will use all its instruments and options available. We have a toolbox that we can apply immediately.” The statements were issued int he context of the Ankara unilateral actions in the eastern Mediterranean, while Greece and Cyprus are in a standoff with Turkey over exploratory drilling in the sea.

#NK: Borrell warns against xenophobic rhetoric

Brussels 22.10.2020 The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, met today with the President of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, in Brussels. The leaders were no available for journalists of Brussels press-corps, however the press-release has been issued by the European External Actions Service:

“They discussed the situation in and around the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone. The High Representative/Vice-President referred to the 10 October and 17 October ceasefire agreements, mediated by Russia and France respectively in coordination with the other OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which were agreed to by both Armenia and Azerbaijan but not respected. The European Union continues to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and strict respect for the agreed ceasefire by all. Any actions that target civilians or bring about further suffering to the civilian population must stop immediately. The High Representative/Vice-President also stressed that the sides have an obligation to comply fully with international humanitarian law”.

“The High Representative/Vice-President urged the sides to return to the negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, without preconditions and without delay. All actors, including external parties, should refrain from any actions that may result in the continuation of hostilities and further casualties. This includes bringing an end to the dangerous, inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell reiterated the EU’s supports for the on-going efforts of the Co-Chairs through active high level contacts, as well as via the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus”.

EU ready for Cyprus negotiations

Brussels 20.10.2020 “The Turkish Cypriot community selected Mr. Ersin Tatar as its new leader. It is important now to see a constructive engagement with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement and reunification” reads the Joint Statement by the High Representative Borrell and Commissioner Ferreira on the electoral process in the Turkish Cypriot community.

The European Union supports the resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), and remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, and of reunification based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, within the UN framework and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, including UNSC resolutions 550 and 789, and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded. A solution to the Cyprus problem would be to the benefit of Cyprus and the EU in general.

The EU stands ready to play an active role in supporting these negotiations. A stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships amongst all partners in the region, bilaterally and multilaterally, is in the EU’s strategic interest.

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