Borrell at the Munich Conference: to arm Ukraine is the first and most urgent matterTuesday, 21 February 2023 11:32
The European Union has to increase and accelerate its military support to Ukraine, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in his speech at the Munich Security Conference that took place from 17 to 19 February.
He said that this is “the first and most urgent thing that a geopolitical Europe has to do”, because Ukraine is critically short of ammunition, adding that this “a matter of weeks”.
“We have been taking too much time to take critical decisions for providing battle tanks. And this, when everybody knows that to win a war, a classical war, with trenches, and heavy arms, you need battle tanks, you will not win this war without these kinds of arms,” said Borrell.
He added that EU Ministers of Defence have to take this kind of decision at the upcoming meeting on 7-8 March, where the European Commission “will propose to accelerate the process that is already ongoing”.
As a medium-term case, he cited the need to further increase the defence capabilities of EU countries, but added that “this will not happen overnight”.
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Prime Minister participates in the 7th Georgia-EU Association Council meetingWednesday, 07 September 2022 12:12
Led by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the government delegation participated in the 7th Georgia-EU Association Council meeting held at the European Council in Brussels.
EU-Georgia Association Council will take place on 6 SeptemberMonday, 05 September 2022 16:05
The 7th meeting of the EU-Georgia Association Council will take place in Brussels on 6 September.
The meeting will be chaired by the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili. EU High Representative Josep Borrell will lead the EU delegation.
The Association Council will discuss EU-Georgia relations against the background of Georgia’s application for EU membership, with a focus on political dialogue and reforms, economic and sectoral cooperation, trade and trade-related issues, as well as peaceful conflict resolution.
Representatives of the EU and Georgia will also exchange views on foreign and security policy, in particular on regional issues.
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G7 Foreign Ministers demand Russia immediately return control of Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant to UkraineMonday, 15 August 2022 11:24
On 10 August, G7 Foreign Ministers, including the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, demanded that Russia immediately hand back full control of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and of all the nuclear facilities to its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine. This will ensure their safe and secure operation.
“Ukrainian staff operating the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure. It is Russia’s continued control of the plant that endangers the region,” says the G7 statement.
The ministers warned that the seizure of Ukrainian nuclear facilities and other actions by Russian armed forces significantly raise the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighboring states and the international community. It also undermines the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) ability to monitor Ukraine’s peaceful nuclear activities for safeguarding purposes.
“IAEA staff must be able to access all nuclear facilities in Ukraine safely and without impediment, and engage directly, and without interference, with the Ukrainian personnel responsible for the operation of these facilities,” says the statement.
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Ukraine: EU condemns latest Russian atrocitiesMonday, 01 August 2022 14:07
The European Union on Friday condemned “in the strongest possible terms the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces and their proxies”.
A statement issued by EU High Representative Josep Borrell said Russia’s ongoing illegitimate and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine and its people brought further horrific atrocities day by day.
“Today in Olenivka, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is reported to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war, including defenders of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, who surrendered to Russia, were registered by the ICRC in May and were in Russia’s legal protection under international humanitarian law. Evidence in form of appalling video footage has been widely shared on pro-Kremlin social networks today, in which Russian soldiers commit a heinous atrocity against a Ukrainian prisoner of war.”
Borrell added: “These inhumane, barbaric acts represent severe breaches of the Geneva conventions and their Additional Protocol and amount to war crimes.”
The perpetrators of war crimes and other serious violations, as well as the responsible government officials and military representatives, will be held accountable, the statement said.
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EU Foreign Ministers agree extra €500 million in military support to Ukraine
On 19 July, the EU Foreign Affairs Council reached political agreement on an additional €500 million in military support for Ukraine under the European Peace Facility (EPF). This disbursement will bring the total amount of military support under the EPF to €2.5 billion.
“Russia is trying to destroy Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation, and at the same time unleash a global food and energy crisis,” said EU High Representative Josep Borrell. “Ministers unanimously agreed on the need to continue to stand firmly with Ukraine and lend it all our support in its fight for freedom and independence. Ukraine needs more arms, we will provide them.”
At the beginning of the meeting, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed EU ministers via video conference, and briefed them about the latest developments on the ground.
The Council also confirmed that it would continue its work on restrictive measures on the basis of a joint proposal from the European Commission and the High Representative, including measures to close loopholes and avoid circumvention. Josep Borrell said that EU sanctions work and the Russian economy is severely affected.
The ministers also said that the EU would continue to support Ukraine in implementing its reform agenda within the European perspective, after it was recently granted the status of candidate country by the European Council. The next EU-Ukraine Association Council should take place on 5 September 2022.
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European Commission adopts new package of measures to reinforce impact of sanctions against RussiaMonday, 18 July 2022 13:05
The European Commission today adopted a proposal for a new package of measures to maintain and strengthen the effectiveness of the EU’s six wide-ranging and unprecedented packages of sanctions against Russia.
Today’s “maintenance and alignment” package clarifies a number of provisions to strengthen legal certainty for operators and enforcement by Member States. It also further aligns the EU’s sanctions with those of its allies and partners, in particular in the G7. Importantly, the package reiterates the Commission’s determined stance to protect food security around the globe. The measures also include a ban on the import of Russian gold.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine continues unabated. Therefore, we are proposing today to tighten our hard-hitting EU sanctions against the Kremlin, enforce them more effectively and extend them until January 2023. Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression.”
EU High Representative Josep Borrell added: “Today’s package reflects our coordinated approach with international partners including the G7. In addition to these measures, I will also present proposals to Council for the listing of more individuals and entities, with their assets frozen and ability to travel curtailed.”
Today’s package will introduce a new import ban on Russian gold, while reinforcing dual use and advanced technology export controls. In doing so, it will reinforce the alignment of EU sanctions with those of the G7 partners. It will also strengthen reporting requirements to tighten EU asset freezes.
The package also reiterates that EU sanctions do not target in any way the trade in agricultural products between third countries and Russia. Likewise, the text clarifies the exact scope of some financial and economic sanctions.
Finally, it is proposed to extend the current EU sanctions for six months, until the next review at the end of January 2023.
The package will now be discussed by Member States in the Council in view of its adoption.
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Borrell: ‘Moscow will have to choose either butter or guns’Wednesday, 06 July 2022 17:19
In an article published in the French newspaper ‘Le Journal du Dimanche’, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell said the sanctions against Russia, implemented after the start of the full-scale aggression against Ukraine are already hitting Vladimir Putin and his accomplices hard, and their impact on the Russian economy will intensify over time.
Borrell explains why and how Western sanctions against Russia are more effective than most people think. Although Russia exports a lot of raw materials, it also has no choice but to import many high value-added products that it does not manufacture. For all advanced technology, it is 45% dependent on Europe, 21% on the United States, and only 11% on China.
In the military field, which is crucial in the context of the war in Ukraine, the sanctions limit Russia’s capacity to produce precision missiles, such as the Iskander or the KH 101, says Borrell. He also mentions that almost all foreign car manufacturers have decided to withdraw from Russia and the few cars produced by Russian manufacturers will be sold without airbags or automatic transmission.
“The oil industry is suffering not only from the departure of foreign operators but also from the difficulty of accessing advanced technologies such as horizontal drilling,” says the EU high official. “The ability of the Russian industry to bring new wells on stream is likely to be limited. Finally, in order to maintain air traffic, Russia will have to withdraw the majority of its aircrafts from circulation in order to recover the spare parts needed to allow the others to fly. Added to this there is also the loss of access to financial markets, being disconnected from major global research networks and a massive brain drain.”
Borrell also notes that China, contrary to expectations, offers a limited alternative for the Russian economy, especially for high-tech products, because, to date, the Chinese government has not assisted Russia in circumventing Western sanctions.
“Will these significant and growing impacts lead Vladimir Putin to modify his strategic calculations? Probably not in the immediate future: his actions are not guided primarily by economic logic. However, by forcing him to choose either butter or guns, the sanctions lock him in a vice that is gradually tightening,” concludes Josep Borrell.
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EU to present military assistance measures for Georgia and Moldova as war rages in Ukraine
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU High Representative Josep Borrell addressed the European Parliament today, reporting on recent EU decisions, including on Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries, and presenting the results of the Extraordinary European Council held in Brussels on 30-31 May.
Ursula von der Leyen noted that breaking free from dependency on Russian fossil fuels, strengthening the EU’s defence, food security, and reconstruction of Ukraine remain the main EU priorities.
She said the upcoming food crisis, which will affect 265 million people worldwide this year alone, is fuelled by Putin’s aggressive war against Ukraine: “Whereas Russia actively weaponises hunger, the EU’s sanctions are carefully crafted to avoid a negative impact and they foresee a clear exemption for food products. Our sanctions do not touch basic food commodities. They do not affect the trading of grain, or other food, between Russia and third countries.”
Josep Borrell (whose speech was delivered by European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis) added that the EU would continue to work with its partners to isolate Russia in international fora and would increase military support to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
“We have proposed to increase the non-lethal military assistance measures benefitting Georgia and [the Republic of] Moldova. It will support logistics, cyber-defence, military medical, engineering and mobility capabilities. We will present them in June for planned adoption by the Council in July,” said Borrell.
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Borrell: EU members ‘will reach agreement’ on new sanctions package against RussiaTuesday, 31 May 2022 10:29
European Union members will reach an agreement on a new sanctions package against Russia, including imposing restrictions on Russian oil imports, during the ongoing summit in Brussels, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in an interview with France Info today.
“We need to decide unanimously. There were tough talks yesterday afternoon, as well as this morning. I think that this afternoon, we will be able to offer to the heads of the member states an agreement,” said Borrell.
European Union governments have so far failed to reach agreement on an embargo on Russian oil. “We have to take the individual circumstances of everybody into account,” Borrell said.
He added that an EU-wide solution should give the three countries which accounted for 7% to 8% of Russian oil imports – Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia – “more time to adjust”.
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