The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, is optimistic about the chances of an exit deal for the UK in the next few hours. Based on his 34-year experience in European affairs, deals are always reached at the last minute and the price of a no-deal exit is too high to bear.
In an interview with Agencia Efe and carried out via videoconference, the Spanish Josep Borrell (Lleida, 73 years old) looks back and considers that without the hoaxes generated in London against the EU the Brexi. However, he adds that the British never wanted a political Europe and have gotten off the train when they saw that it was heading towards a station they did not want to reach.
In the absence of reaching an agreement on fishing and how to resolve trade disputes, the head of European diplomacy believes that the final pact may be close. “The problems of an exit without an agreement are so great that I think the need for a pact will prevail. We will see it in the next few hours,” he assures from his office in Brussels, with a large map of Europe in the background.
Borrell recalls that the official propaganda of the defenders of Brexit assured that with the money that was contributed to the EU, a hospital could be built every week. “The day after that false narrative they were saying that it was a miscalculation,” explains Borrell, who establishes a clear parallel with the Catalan independence movement. The UK complained of putting up too much money. The Catalan independentistas, of which Spain robs them. “We must make an effort to counteract misinformation and we can wake up because we live in a world governed by the battle of narratives,” warns Borrell.
A common strategic culture
In this world of narratives, Josep Borrell repeatedly expresses his determination to establish a “common strategic culture” in Europe, a complicated objective in a field, that of foreign policy, which requires unanimity. He considers that the EU has sufficient resources to act as a great power, but confesses the enormous difficulties to reach agreements in a year, his first at the forefront of European diplomacy, especially complicated by the pandemic.
“Almost every day I see problems that seem impossible to solve and most of them prove that they are,” he jokes. “This position produces insomnia and it has been more complicated than I expected. We lack a common strategic culture that, translated into vulgar language, means that we do not understand the world in the same way. Agree on 27, all at once, sometimes ends in an empty content “, laments.
For Josep Borrell, the announcement by the United States of its draft Middle East peace plan was a particularly difficult moment. He considers relations with Turkey and the worsening of security and the fight against terrorism in the Sahel to be a serious problem.
On the positive side of the balance, he places the IRINI military operation to control arms trafficking in the Mediterranean and the regulatory framework to impose sanctions for human rights violations.
The reconstruction funds, baptized as Next Generation, and the relief in the White House will help to weave that new European Union in which Borrell is embarked. A Europe that, in his opinion, needs to regain ground in certain technological areas.
He considers himself a “fledgling European Minister of Defense” and has faith in the strength of the EU. “Historically, pandemics are great generators of structural changes,” he says.