‘EU’s greatest humiliation’: Polish minister savages Borrell’s disastrous trip to Russia

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Janusz Kowalski made his remarks after Josep Borrell’s widely criticised trip to Moscow earlier this month. At one point Mr Lavrov dismissed the EU as an “unreliable partner” – with Mr Borrell failing to challenge the assertion.

Josep Borrell’s visit to Moscow on February 5, 2020 is one of the greatest humiliations in the history of the EU foreign policy

Janusz Kowalski

To compound the situation, Mr Borrell’s trip came days after the imprisonment of dissident opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who was arrested the moment he returned to the country.

Mr Kowalski, a member of the Polish Parliament as well as Deputy Minister of State Assets, told Express.co.uk: “Josep Borrell’s visit to Moscow on February 5, 2020 is one of the greatest humiliations in the history of the EU foreign policy.

“This visit has confirmed that Russia does not see the EU as a serious partner.

“Moscow holds serious talks with Berlin and Paris, but never with Brussels.”

Mr Kowalski added: “Borrell discredited the idea of the common EU foreign policy, which is in the interest of Germany and France.

“Moreover, Putin’s regime made it clear: forget about any compromises on Navalny.”

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The controversy stems from a joint press conference in Moscow during which Mr Borrell said the EU was not planning any sanctions against Russia in response to Mr Navalny’s incarceration.

He then sat by awkwardly as Mr Lavrov said: “We are getting used to the fact that the European Union are trying to impose unilateral restrictions, illegitimate restrictions and we proceed from the assumption at this stage that the European Union is an unreliable partner.

“I hope that the strategic review that will take place soon will focus on the key interests of the European Union and that these talks will help to make our contacts more constructive.”

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Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian MEP who as the European Parliament’s Brexit representative was a frequent critic of the UK’s decision to quit the EU, was given short shrift when he questioned the wisdom of the visit a fortnight ago.

He tweeted: “This is simply appalling. Not just that Russia makes a fool of the EU but that we let it happen.

“@JosepBorrellF should simply not have gone to Moscow without a message of EU strength & a mandate for sanctions to back it up.”

One Twitter user replied: “Verhofstadt can grandstand all he likes.

“Putin knows that at most the EU will make a few feeble gestures and essentially do nothing.”

Another added: “It is beyond pathetic, but if you fill the EU Commission with failed political elites what do you expect. Chaos and that is what has happened.

“@guyverhofstadt your Empire has collapsed before it really became an Empire!!!!

“Time the EU27 got their sovereignty back.”

After his return from Russia, Mr Borrell himself tweeted: “My visit to Moscow highlighted that Russia does not want to seize the opportunity to have a more constructive dialogue with the EU.

“This is regrettable and we will have to draw the consequences.”

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