Foreign Affairs Council: Remarks by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival
We have a very complicated Council [Foreign Affairs Council] today.
You may know that we are going to host the Foreign Affairs Minister of India [Mr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar], who has never been here before. We will share the lunch with the ministers to talk about India and the next Summit, that is going to take place here in Brussels.
And then, on the agenda there are several items of high voltage. We have, for sure, the Middle East Peace Process. We have the first step on building the Strategy for Africa. We have the situation in Libya. We just had a letter from Mr Salamé [Ghassan Salamé], the Special Representative of the United Nations in Libya, explaining that the ceasefire is still not there, the truce is being violated, the arms embargo too and that the fight continues. The political process of Berlin is still working. But the situation in the ground is very, very bad.
The oil cut is weakening the economy of this country. They are losing about 60 million dollars a day by the oil that they cannot sell. Imagine, the whole European Union helped Libya with €600 million, it is the equivalent of 10 days of selling oil.
Then, for sure, we will have to look at which measures the Member States are ready to implement in order to help control the arms embargo. There are still some discrepancies and I will see what the position of everybody is.
Q. What are the chances on reviving EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia as there is already a Member State that is against it?
I think there are more than one. When you approach a final decision, many others have some reluctance. I do not think today we are going to be able to [reach a final decision]. Anyway, we are not in a hurry. We can do it at the next Council.
There are people who still believe that more assessment has to be done in order to ensure that it is not going to produce a ‘pull effect’, we will do it. I need unanimity. If there is no unanimity I cannot proceed.
Q. Is there any chance that there will be a solution for reviving Operation Sophia?
We will continue working. If no [decision is taken] at this Council we will discuss again this subject at the next Council.
Q. For the arms embargo in Libya, what is the EU missing to act correctly? Is it political will or is there some other interest for some countries?
Today, every Member State will explain its position. Some believe that this will create a pull effect, which, to my understanding, in the past Operation Sophia did not create a pull effect. By analysis of the figure, the data, I am not convinced [that it will create a pull effect], but some believe it. Also there are some political situation, internal and external. We will see, we have to have the debate and see if there is unanimity today or if we continue working in the next Council.
Q. Are you worried by a Turkish reaction, a strong reaction from Turkish if you really take a stronger position [on Libya]?
No, that is not what worries me.