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Spain’s Josep Borrell to become EU’s top diplomat

The Socialist is a firm detractor of the Catalan independence movement


02 July 2019 08:21 PM



European leaders have chosen Josep Borrell, Spain’s acting foreign minister, to replace Federica Mogherini as the European Union’s top diplomat.

Borrell, a veteran Socialist and former European Parliament president, was proposed by acting president Pedro Sánchez as Spain’s "natural candidate" for the EU’s high-ranking position.

As foreign minister, Borrell has become a major foe to the Catalan independence movement, starring in a number of diplomatic rows with other European countries - including Belgium and Germany for refusing to extradite pro-independence leaders - and challenging the opening of Catalan government offices abroad.

Borrell received a €30,000 in October 2018 by Spain’s securities regulator for the sale of €9,000 in shares since he had access to the company’s private information as a board member. 

The acting foreign minister was once again in the news in March for storming out of an interview with German public TV Deutsche Welle, claiming that journalist Tim Sebastian was “continuously lying” when questioning him about the desire for constitutional reform in Spain. After consulting with his aides, Borrell ended up going back to finish the interview, but asked Sebastian to “ask questions in a less biased way” the next time they spoke.

Borrell also made headlines in November of last year for stating, in reference to US independence and the country’s levels of cohesiveness, that “All they did was kill four Indians.”

“Why does the US have a higher level of political integration? Firstly, they all speak the same language. And secondly, they have very little history. They achieved independence with practically no history,” he said at an event at a Madrid university.

On Wednesday, the Catalan presidency minister and government spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, said she believed Borrell would actually help spread awareness of Catalonia and the independence issue abroad since "all he talks about practically is Catalonia."


  • Spain's foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell (by Blanca Blay)

  • Spain's foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell (by Blanca Blay)