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New top EU diplomat: Josep Borrell pays his first official visit to Berlin

Foreign Minister Maas meets Josep Borrell in Berlin, 27.01.2020

Foreign Minister Maas meets Josep Borrell in Berlin, 27.01.2020, © Felix Zahn/photothek.net

27.01.2020 - Article

The EU has a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Josep Borrell. On 1 December he took up his post as Federica Mogherini’s successor.

Today, Foreign Minister Maas met him at Villa Borsig on Lake Tegel on his first official visit to Berlin. Topics on the agenda: Libya, Iran, Iraq and Germany’s EU Council Presidency in the second half of the year.

Josep Borrell is the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

The new EU Commission commenced its work on 1 December. One of the 26 new Commissioners is Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EU Commission. Borrell, who is a qualified aviation engineer and has a doctorate in economics, had held the post of Spanish Foreign Minister since June 2018. From the late 1970s, Borrell held various governmental posts for the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). From 2004 to 2007 he was President of the EU Parliament.

Seamless EU external action

As EU High Representative, Borrell is responsible for shaping and implementing the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the High Representative has also held the post of Vice-President of the EU Commission. In his dual role, Borrell is responsible for ensuring the coherence of the EU’s international measures. He is also head of the EU’s diplomatic corps, the European External Action Service. Foreign Minister Maas assured Borrell of Germany’s full support for his new task, especially during the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020. Maas and Borrell also exchanged views on how EU foreign policy can be made more effective in light of growing global challenges.

Libya: what is the next step following the Berlin summit?

The top item on the agenda was Libya. Maas and Borrell discussed what form the next steps towards a political process in Libya could take – and how the EU could continue to be involved. At the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January, participants agreed to uphold the arms embargo and the current truce. The decisions of the Berlin Conference on Libya are now to be tabled as a resolution in the UN Security Council. In addition, a so-called 5+5 Committee is to convene, in which five representatives of each conflict party are to negotiate on a permanent ceasefire.

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