EU advises on sanctions: Borrell’s ailing authority

Dhe trip to Moscow at the beginning of the month will hang on Josep Borrell for a long time. Russia did not use it to take the outstretched hand of the EU foreign representative, but to hook him on the chin – with the parallel expulsion of three diplomats. And with a press conference in which Sergei Lavrov handed it out against Europe to his heart’s content.

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries based in Brussels.

Did Borrell always have his cover up there? Shouldn’t he have made a punch himself? EU diplomats were “surprised” by his appearance, and there was even talk of a fiasco in Eastern countries. The person criticized defended himself by saying that he did not regard a press conference as a “fist fight”.

Scientifically shaped and historically educated

One can have different views on questions of style. In the case of the Spaniard, there is of course the suspicion that he went to Moscow poorly prepared and fell victim to his inexperience. Because although Borrell, 73 years old, has been shaping politics for more than four decades, before moving to Brussels he had only been his country’s foreign minister for one year under Pedro Sánchez.

In the 1990s he held several government posts, after which he was a member of parliament, first in the Spanish and then in the European Parliament. It is undisputed that he understands something about the matter. In his blog and in interviews, a man speaks who can analyze the strategic questions of the present.

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Borrell is influenced by the natural sciences. He studied aerospace engineering and economics in Madrid, mathematics at Stanford and energy in Paris, all with degrees. Before going into politics, he was a university professor for ten years. In his way of solving problems, he sees himself as related to the natural scientist Angela Merkel. He is also historically educated.

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