Hearing with High Representative/Vice President-designate Josep Borrell
The 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 for High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy/Vice-President for A Stronger Europe in the World.
The EU has to learn to use the language of power
During his introductory speech, Mr 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, Mr 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, he 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. Mr 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.
Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.