European Union External Action

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

Brussels, 12/07/2021 - 11:38, UNIQUE ID: 210712_9
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Good morning,

At today’s Foreign Affairs Council we are going to discuss about across-the-board issues, like the impact of new technologies. This is a very important issue in which we have to engage more, because new technologies will change the balance of power in the world and we have to discuss about how we face this situation.

The other across-the-board issue is the Strategic Compass. It is an issue related with the European defence, but Foreign Ministers want also to have their part, so we are going to discuss with them the next step that will be also on the Gymnich meeting with Defence Ministers after the holidays.

These are the two, let us say, general issues.

On the geographic approach, today we are going to receive the visit of the new [Alternate Prime Minister and] Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel [Yair Lapid]. Yesterday I had the opportunity to exchange with him. It is important that the new Israeli government come here, to Brussels. It is an opportunity for a fresh start, for restarting the relationship with Israel from the point of view of our bilateral relations, but also about the situation in the Middle East. I think that it is a good opportunity for us to restart our relations, which, in the past, were quite deteriorated.

Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Lebanon are the three other geographical issues.

On Afghanistan we will see what we can do after the American – well not just the American, the Western withdrawal of [troops in] Afghanistan.

On Lebanon, all options are on the table. I do not think today we are going to take any decision but I have to say that the crisis in Lebanon continues without any improvement since my last visit. And yes, sanctions could be on the table if Member States propose it.

Ethiopia and Tigray, where, they are facing a famine, destruction of infrastructure, a ceasefire which is not [alleviating] the big humanitarian crisis, will also be discussed.

I think it is going to be a very dense Foreign Affairs Council, and I hope that at the end I can tell you some results on these discussions.

Q&A

Q. On Lebanon, would you expect today a kind of political consensus on the issue of sanctions against those who are opposing the formation of a government?

No, I do not think that today we are going to have a consensus.

Q. Could you recall the European Union’s position regarding the crisis of the Renaissance Dam, the crisis between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan?

That is an important issue that will be for sure mentioned when we discuss about the situation in Ethiopia but this specific point is not in the agenda.

Q. ¿Qué le parecen las manifestaciones en Cuba y qué le parecen las detenciones?

Sabemos que están ocurriendo en Cuba, y en otras partes del mundo, importantes manifestaciones como consecuencia de cortes en los sistemas de comunicación. Sin duda, vamos a comentar también este tema en Current Affairs.

Q. ¿Lo va a sacar usted [el tema], dado que no hay representante [de España]?

Va a haber un representante de España, no siempre los países están representados por un ministro.

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-209179

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