Tag Archives: Josep Borrell

EU diplomatic appointments

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy announced today three senior appointments in the European External Action Service (EEAS):

Enrique MORA BENAVENTE as Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs, Political Director. He is currently Political Director at the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and previously Head of Cabinet of High Representative / Secretary General of the Council of the European Union Javier Solana.

Stefano SANNINO as Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues. He is currently Ambassador of Italy to Spain and was previously Permanent Representative of Italy to the European Union and Director General for Enlargement in the European Commission.

Charles FRIES as Deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and crisis response. He is currently the Ambassador of France to Turkey and was previously Ambassador of France to Morroco and Secretary General for European Affairs in Paris.

The three Deputy Secretary General will work under the guidance of Secretary General Helga Schmid.

Josep Borrell announced he “wants to further strengthen the European External Action Service to address changing international realities effectively“.

With the appointments announced today, the EEAS will have a strong and experienced management team to advance the work in implementing the political priorities set by the High Representative”.

Image: illustration

Borrell on W.Balkans European perspective

At aprrival to the Euorpean Council for the EU-Western Balkans informal meeting the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said he hoped that some of Western Balkans countries could become members of the EU before the end of his mandate.

Today is another step on the European perspective for the Balkan countries. We are going to talk about it also tomorrow at the Foreign Affairs Council.

“I am coming from Munich where I had the opportunity of meeting all the Heads of State or Government of the Balkan countries. I have been flying in the plane with the Foreign Minister of North Macedonia and I learnt that they have [taken] a new important step on the reforms, about the law of the public prosecutor, which shows their will of doing anything they have to do in order to have a European perspective. So we are going to work today and tomorrow for the next European Council to open the door to the European perspective of the Balkan countries.”

Borrell on situation in Idlib

“The war in Syria is now in its ninth year. The most severe humanitarian catastrophe and security crisis is unfolding right now in the northwest of the country. In other parts of Syria we continue to see instability and dramatic human suffering.

“Last Thursday we heard the United Nations Special Envoy [Geir] Pedersen and the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA] Mark Lowcock briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Idlib. They described how regime forces, aided by Russia and Iran, are launching heavy military offensives with no regard for the civilian population or civilian infrastructure. “We appear to have lost sight of the principle of proportionality”, United Nations Special Envoy [Pedersen] said.

“The intensification of military operations in Idlib has resulted in the indiscriminate killings of hundreds of civilians. Attacks continue on civilian targets in densely populated areas, medical facilities and settlements for internally displaced people. These are blatant and serious violations of international humanitarian law. There has to be accountability for those responsible.

“Since military operations began in Idlib in February 2019, one year ago, more than 1 million people have been displaced towards Turkey. We are talking about one million displaced people in one year. Every day more Syrians are fleeing the fighting and another wave of refugees is quite possibly in the making.

“We also see clashes between the Syrian regime and Turkish forces, plus the risk of Turkish and Russian militaries confronting each other. These tensions could in turn trigger a wider regional conflict. The ceasefire agreed between Ankara and Moscow must be implemented.

“This is the situation. Now, let me say this. After almost a decade of violence, the suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of the regime and its backers must cease. Too many people have died, and those that are alive face a bleak future.

“The EU has major stakes in Syria and in the surrounding region. We cannot afford more regional instability and another migrant crisis. We must avoid a resurgence of Da’esh and other terrorist organisations at Europe’s doorstep. The EU has a duty to preserve the rules based international order including the legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council. Yes, I know, we say that once again and we have to continue saying that.

“Recent military gains by the Syrian regime are not translating into stability, on the contrary. The Syrian regime will not bring peace and stability to Syria if it continues to pursue a military logic and the repression of its people. The economic situation is deteriorating rapidly, exacerbated by the banking crisis in Lebanon. The regime must change its behaviour.

“[Honourable] Members of the European Parliament, we have stated from the very beginning that only a comprehensive and inclusive political solution in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 will allow sustainable peace and stability in Syria and the region.

“The European Union will continue to support the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy Pedersen in relaunching the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. We also need to focus on other parts of this resolution [UNSCR 2254] such as a nationwide ceasefire, the release of detainees and getting progress on the file of missing persons.

“Let’s recall that the European Union is and remains the largest humanitarian donor in relation to crisis in Syria and to its people, both inside [Syria] and to Syrian refugees and host communities in neighbouring countries. We are supporting the resilience of ordinary civilians and civil society to maintain the social fabric of Syrian society.

“We are convinced that our support is a fundamental investment – it is not an expenditure it is an investment – in the future of Syria and the region which is part of our future. And as a partner in the Global Coalition to defeat Da’esh, the EU is conducting stabilisation projects in the north east of Syria.

“We are always prepared to do more on all these lines of action, within the limits of our common redlines. These are: no normalisation with the regime; no risking of our funding being diverted to the regime or to terrorists, and no reconstruction before a political process is firmly under way. Syria: Speech by HR/VP Josep Borrell in the EP on the current security situation in Syria, on February 12.

“Honourable members, we will continue to apply European Union sanctions targeting individuals and entities associated with the regime and responsible for its repressive and inhuman policies, and not the Syrian people.

“As I said before: the conflict in Syria is a geopolitical struggle. The European Union has a responsibility to lead, for the sake of the Syrian people and to protect our own interests. While difficult, we must redouble our efforts to identify common interests with other international stakeholders, Russia, U.S., Turkey and others.

“Maybe I will have the occasion to update you on our discussions in Washington about this issue. ” Strasbourg, European Parliament Plenary, Syria: Speech by High Representative Josep Borrell in the EP on the current security situation in Syria.

Borrell completes U.S. visit

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell returned on February 9 from the first official visit in his current capacity to the Unites States.

In the meetings with the representatives of the US Administration and the US Congress, he reaffirmed the strong transatlantic bond between the Europeans and people in the US, which is essential to the security and prosperity of the transatlantic area and beyond. High Representative/Vice-President J.Borrell presented the foreign policy priorities of the EU and underlined a desire for close cooperation with the United States in advancing shared interests and strengthening the rules-based international order. The High Representative also spoke about his recent outreach in the Middle East and Gulf region, which he had visited in the past week.

Speaking with US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, Josep Borrell expressed the position of the European Union on the latest international developments. They discussed the need to find a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the High Representative offered the European Union’s support to all efforts aimed at reviving a political process and negotiations in line with international law, which ensures equal rights and which is acceptable to both parties.

They also discussed the wider situation in the Middle East, including Syria and Libya. Josep Borrell underlined his determination to contribute to de-escalation and restoration of stability in the region. The High Representative and the Secretary of State also discussed the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the need for full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, and Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. They expressed their full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.

The High Representative/Vice-President reiterated the European Union’s full commitment to preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and expectation that Iran returns to full compliance with its nuclear commitments. Furthermore, they also discussed the opportunities for continued EU – US partnership in the Western Balkans in support of the region’s progress on its European and transatlantic path, as well as the stabilisation efforts on the African continent.

The latest US proposals as regards the peace process in the Middle East were also part of the conversation with the US National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien and Special Advisor to the President, Jared Kushner.

The meeting with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, provided an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of transatlantic alliance and a need for close collaboration in addressing global challenges.

In all of his meetings, the High Representative stressed and was reassured of the importance of continued close and regular EU-US dialogue at appropriate levels. The European Union-United States partnership remains strong and crucial for people on both sides of the Atlantic, and around the world. They will continue to work together for positive change, peace, stability and prosperity. “International relations travel at the speed of trust. And an international agenda based on trust between the EU und the United States is key to successfully tackle global challenges that we jointly face. We should always remember that we sit on the same side of the table when it comes to most core challenges, even if we don’t agree on everything,” J.Borrell stated when concluding his talks with US partners in Washington.

EU focus on counter-terrorism in Iraq

The Minister of foreign affairs discussed the latest developments in Iraq. The diplomats have been assessing the consequences of the recent escalation of tension and major security incidents in Iraq and its impact on the entire the region. They also considered the impact of these developments on the international coalition engaged in the fight against Da’esh.

Ministers have exchanged views on possible ways to de-escalate tensions both in the short and long term.

Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, invited to the Council has assessed the discussion with Foreign Ministers as important.

He expressed the opinion of a profound need to continue to support Iraq, fighting  international terrorism, and stay united in face of the threat.

Borrell’s undiplomatic offensive

European Commission has been confronted with questions of journalists over a Twitter micro blog embarrassing message, mounting up to “malfeasance in office” by its next EU top diplomat and incumbent Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who posted a sensitive document from UK authorities on his feed.

The document, not meant for public release, related to a Spanish request for the arrest and extradition from Britain of a Catalan politician, Clara Ponsati, who is engaged as an academic at a Scottish university.

It contained a British query, made through an EU police cooperation database for the Schengen free movement area called SIRENE, asking for more information to support the Spanish warrant and revealed some of Ponsati’s personal data.

Borrell posted it to his Twitter account on Wednesday and later deleted it — but not before its was screengrabbed and triggered a complaint from a Catalan MEP, Diana Riber, who demanded Borrell be barred from taking up his job as the next EU High Representative for foreign affairs.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission told reporters Friday that “there are very clear rules in place regarding access to and use of the Schengen Information System… and we would expect that everyone shall respect the letter and spirit of these rules, notably any confidentiality requirements.”

The spokeswoman, Mina Andreeva, said it was a Spanish matter and should not affect Borrell’s future post in the Commission.

“This tweet was posted by Mr Borrell in his capacity as acting foreign minister. It is now for the national competent authorities to look into this matter,” she said, passing the buck to Madrid.

Claiming to be Catalan, Borrell, 72, is endorsed to become the EU’s top foreign policy official in the Ursula von der Leyen Commission.

That new team was scheduled to start working this month but has been delayed by at least a month because some of nominated commissioners failed to receive their consent. 

Spain’s European arrest warrant against Ponsati is part of Madrid’s crackdown on Catalan independence movement.

Josep Borrell faces MEPs scrutiny

Anna van Densky from Brussels The MEPS of Foreign Affairs Committee questioned Josep Borrell, Spanish candidate for High Representative/Vice-President for foreign affairs and security policy.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Josep Borrell, candidate EU top diplomat job.

During his introductory speech  Borrell stressed his intention to engage in reforms in the Western Balkans, support democracy and the integrity of Ukraine, address the challenges in the southern neighbourhood, develop a new strategy towards Africa, work on political relations with Asia, step up cooperation with Latin America and reinstate transatlantic relations (US-EU). “The world has changed for the worse…There are few agreements, more vetoes”, he said.

MEPs enquired how he intends to reach consensus among member states on decisions regarding e.g. Russia or generally related to security and defence. “We need shared strategic culture and empathy to understand the different points of view”, he replied. MEPs also asked about the role the EU could play in creating global security, when non-proliferation agreements are being breached. They also raised the issue of protecting EU maritime interests worldwide.

Asked about Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, Borrell replied that negotiations have lasted too long and Europe has to engage in helping Kosovo and Serbia out of the deadlock. His first visit as High Representative/Vice-President would be to Pristina, Commissioner-designate announced.

MEPs also asked how he intends to achieve a more strategic and coherent union, as announced in the Mission letter of the Commission President Borrell said that the EU has tools for foreign policy, such as a powerful common trade policy or diplomatic power. “The EU has to learn to use the language of power”, he stressed.

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