Delegation of the European Union to Colombia

European Council: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival

Brussels, 24/06/2021 - 15:32, UNIQUE ID: 210624_17

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Good morning,

From the point of view of foreign affairs, today at the European Council we are going to have a discussion about our relationship with Russia.

The last European Council [on 24 May 2021] asked the Commission and myself as High Representative, to present a Communication about how to deal with Russia. In this Communication, we are presenting three ways of action: to push back Russia when it is infringing international law; to constrain Russia in its negative attitude towards our Member States and our neighbours; and to engage with Russia in issues of common interest.

This is the way of developing the five guiding principles, to express solidarity to our neighbours and continue having strong support to the problems that we have to share with our Russian neighbourhood.

But we also want to engage with Russia. We need to engage with Russia on some issues in which we have to defend our interests through a certain degree of partnership.

This Communication will be very important to decide the future of our relations and there is also the proposal from France and Germany to hold a Summit with Russia, which I am sure will also be discussed by the Members of the Council.

We have to talk about Turkey. [With] Turkey the situation is much better now than some months ago, but there is still the need to continue working on what are the limitations and mainly on the Cyprus issue. The negotiations in Geneva in the United Nations framework did not go well. We have also to study how to continue our support to the refugees that are being hosted in Turkey, but I think the most important issue will be the discussion on Russia, migration and COVID-19, the way we can help to offer vaccines to the rest of the world.

Today there is a big imbalance, the Secretary General of the United Nations [António Guterres] has told us that in average in the developed world there are [around] 60 shots for [every] 100 inhabitants and in the rest of the world there is [around] 1 shot or 1.5 shots for [every] 100 inhabitants. This imbalance has to be corrected. Europe has been supporting a lot, [it] has been supporting financially COVAX. I am sure the leaders will discuss about new ways of continuing our support, [to ensure that] everybody has access to the vaccines.

Thank you.

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