Borrell gets go ahead to become EU's diplomacy head

Catalan politician to take office on November 1 after being opposed only by far right

Josep Borrell facing a hearing at the European Parliament on October 7, 2019 (by Laura Pous)
Josep Borrell facing a hearing at the European Parliament on October 7, 2019 (by Laura Pous) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

October 8, 2019 11:11 AM

 Josep Borrell has received the greenlight from the European Parliament to become the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

With the only opposition coming from the far-right groups, the Catalan Socialist politician will succeed Federica Mogherini as the Union's diplomacy head from November 1.

On Tuesday morning, MEPs representing two thirds of the foreign affairs committee gave Borrell the go ahead.

This comes after Borrell faced a 3-hour hearing in which MEPs quizzed him over his policy plans.

The current Spanish foreign minister is a staunch opponent of independence, which has led to several clashes with the Catalan administration, including a legal battle he launched against Catalan offices abroad.

A tense interview with Deutsche Welle and comments on the genocide of Native Americans are some of the other controversies in which he has been recently involved.


Spain’s foreign affairs minister, Josep Borrell, tiptoed around the Catalan issue in the hearing on Monday. 

"Considering the post I aspire to, I’m not going to comment on a country’s internal affairs, including mine," said Borrell, who faced MEPs’ questions in Brussels on Monday afternoon.

As a member of the Spanish government, Borrell has been a steadfast opponent of the Catalan independence movement, leading also to a number of diplomatic rows with other European countries

Yet, he avoided commenting on the issue in his bid to become the EU’s new High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

A former president of the EU Parliament from 2005 to 2007, and a social democratic heavyweight, Borrell’s candidacy is seen as an attempt by Spain’s acting president, Pedro Sánchez, to gain influence in the new European Commission.