The European Commission summit is under attack. There is much criticism in the European Parliament of the actions of both Von der Leyen and Borrell. Von der Leyen is commented on her bumpy appearance during the vaccine quarrel with AstraZeneca, while Borrells resignation is requested because last week he had been put away and outdone by Minister Lavrov during a visit to Moscow.
Mr von der Leyen has to answer to the European Parliament tomorrow. She is particularly blamed for establishing border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland in an attempt to gain control over the supply of coronavaccins. They did not come, because after a few hours she discovered that these border controls were counterproductive: they were in breach of Brexit agreements, with the Good Friday Peace Agreement and the British were on their butt feet.
What was Borrell doing in Moscow?
Borrell is allowed to explain to Parliament today what was the purpose of his trip to Russia. He wanted to open a new chapter in relations with the Russians, he said in advance. The journey had long been planned and he wanted to seize the opportunity to visit opposition leader Navalny. But the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov trumped him by saying that it would be best for him to apply to the court.
Moreover, Borrell said nothing when Lavrov called the European Union an unreliable partner. Three European diplomats were expelled from the country during the visit of the EU Foreign Chief.
In the European Parliament, Dutch MEPs speak of an embarrassing display (Derk-Jan Eppink, JA21) and humiliation (Kati Piri, PvdA). The leader of the Christian Democrats Manfred Weber blames the Russians and wants additional sanctions.
In fact, Latvian MEP Riho Terras was so angry that he started a signatures campaign to depose Borrell. He has written a letter which has now been signed by more than 80 politicians.
There is also criticism of the behaviour of the high-ranking Spaniard in their own country. “The failed journey from Borrell to Moscow shows the weaknesses of his policy,” headlines El País today in a full-page story. The article concludes that a year after his appointment, Borrell is unable to forge alliances. “Borrell wanders through a no-mans land bragging about his intellectual luggage. But in the Commissions day-to-day worries, he is on the sidelines,” concludes the newspaper.
The story is remarkable, finds correspondent Rop Zoutberg. “El País is of the same political colour as Borrell. It really stands out that they criticize him so openly. But the message is clear: Borrell only drives with high lights. He may see what is in the distance, but forgets that what is close sometimes has to be solved first.”
The disappointment in Brussels is great because more was expected from the new European Commission in foreign matters. President von der Leyen said that he wanted to be important not only in economic terms but also in political terms. The Foreign Ministers of the European Union were unable to agree recently on new sanctions against Russia and sent the hot potato to Borrell in the hope that the Russians would listen to him.