European Council: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival

(Source: EEAS)

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This morning, the [European] Council has been talking about the Western Balkans. Adhesion is our most important foreign policy in order to stabilise the whole European continent.

And now, we are going to talk about the membership of Ukraine, [the Republic of] Moldova and Georgia.

Ukraine and Moldova will be granted the status of candidate [countries], on the understanding that there are some conditions that need to be fulfilled. And for Georgia also it is a clear path to the European Union.

Let us talk about the consequences of the war. We are very worried about the consequences of the war from the point of view of food prices and food scarcity. We are afraid that Russia is trying to provoke hunger in many countries depending on its wheat and blocking Ukrainian grain from being exported.

We support the efforts of the United Nations to deblock the Ukrainian ports and we are having a look at our sanctions in order to be sure that there is nothing that prevents exports of food and fertilisers from Russia.

But the prices are increasing – in Africa, [there has been a] 60% increase on the prices. This certainly is going to create a lot of problems in many African countries, and we will try to support them as much as we can.

Q&A

Q. [inaudible]

First, in Kaliningrad, there is not a blockade. The Lithuanian administration is implementing the guidelines of the [European] Commission in accordance with our sanctions. But, at the same time, we want to make controls that could prevent any kind of sanctions avoidance, and not preventing the traffic. And the [European] Commission and the European External Action Service are going to review the guidelines in order to clarify that we do not want to block or prevent the traffic between Russia and Kaliningrad. [There are] two objectives: to prevent circumvention of the sanctions; and not to block the traffic. Both things should be possible, and we are working on that.

Q. [inaudible]

Well, I hope that as soon as possible. Let us clarify: there is no blockade. But there are some goods which are under control and this control has to be implemented in a clever and smart way in order to control the sanctions, but not obstructing the traffic between Kaliningrad and Russia.

Q. Is it time to allocate more money from the European Peace Facility to Ukraine?

Let us see what the Leaders think about it.

Q. What do you think?

I think that we have to continue supporting Ukraine. The European Union is an institution that brings peace and stability to Europe. It is a political force that has an objective: to bring peace and stability to Europe. We are a political force that wants to build on resilience and cooperation – mainly with Ukraine.

Q. Has Russia cut gas to Europe overnight?

Russia is diminishing the supply of gas, little by little. To some countries, almost 100%; to others they are cutting 10%, 15%. I do not think they are going to cut the gas overnight. Especially because we are going into the summer and in the summer the gas is not a strategic weapon. But the winter could be difficult, and we have to be prepared in Europe for any kind of use of gas as a weapon. They are [already] using the wheat as a weapon.

Q. If more members join the European Union potentially soon, how do you want to tackle the problem of unanimity?

The more we are, the more we have to abandon unanimity. The more we are, the more difficult it will be to have an agreement by unanimity. So, we have also to think about our working methods.

Q. How dangerous is the situation around Kaliningrad at the moment?

I do not think it is dangerous, but as I explained, the [European] Commission and the [European] External Action Service are working on guidelines to be sure there are no circumvention to the sanctions and not to create troubles for the transit.

Q. Are you disappointed by the [EU-]Western Balkans Summit’s outcome?

Let us see. We have to digest it.

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-227673

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