16th July 2019
Josep Borrell
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Josep Borrell: from controversy to controversy, to EU’s top diplomat

European leaders have chosen Josep Borrell, Spain’s acting foreign minister, to replace Federica Mogherini as the European Union’s ‘High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’.

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

ALSO READ: Spain’s foreign minister fined €30,000 over share sale

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.

ALSO READ: Spain seeks to close Catalan delegations in Berlin, London, Geneva

Borrell received a €30,000 fine 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.

Josep Borrell
Spain’s Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell on 29 November 2018 (Photo from Twitter / @JosepBorrellF)

The acting foreign minister was 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.

ALSO READ: Spain’s foreign minister walks off German TV interview

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.

ALSO READ: Spain seeks to close Catalan delegations in Berlin, London, Geneva

 

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