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Canada: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the joint press point with Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly

20.01.2022
Brussels

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Mélanie, c’est un grand plaisir de t’accueillir à Bruxelles. 

L’Union européenne et le Canada ont établi une relation importante - je dirais unique. Le Canada est un ami proche – est lointain du point de vue géographique, proche du point de vue de nos rapports, un partenaire précieux.

Nous apprécions l'engagement de longue date que vous avez envers la paix et la sécurité et nous sommes reconnaissants au Canada pour son importante contribution aux missions de sécurité et de défense européennes que vous avez développé au fil des années. 

Et aussi nous travaillons ensemble au sein du G7, de l’OSCE et de l’OTAN sur un nombre de priorités qui sont clés pour la politique étrangère de l’Union et – il faut le dire, plus récemment sur l’évolution de la sécurité à l’Est de l’Europe. 

And this was the main discussion point today. How not? The visit of the Canadian Foreign Minister is taking place in the context of intense diplomatic activities in the European Union, across the Atlantic and in Ukraine.

Both of us, we have visited the country in the past few days, so we know what we are talking about. We exchanged our assessment of the situation on the ground and about ongoing international efforts in this regard. 

Mélanie and I, we share the deep concern about the provocations and Russia’s military build-up on the Ukrainian border and recall our support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reiterate our call on Russia to de-escalate the situation. 

We equally reject Russia’s attempts to undermine the fundamental principles of the European security and to try to re-define the security arrangements and to restore old-fashioned and outdated spheres of influence in Europe.

This meeting today is a good occasion to reaffirm our determination to face this challenge and underline the intense consultations with all key allied partners.

Nous avons certainement aussi discuté de notre coopération bilatérale en matière de sécurité et de défense. Le Canada est un partenaire naturel, il nous a rejoint dans des projet PESCO sur la mobilité militaire et il fournisse des experts aux missions civiles de l’Union européenne en Cisjordanie et, justement, en Ukraine. 

Pendant le déjeuner nous allons discuter d’autres sujets: l’Éthiopie, l’Afghanistan, le Venezuela et Haïti. Des points chauds ou se déroulent malheureusement des crises humanitaires sans précédents, en particulier en Afghanistan et Éthiopie. 

Finally, allow me, Mélanie, to reinsist on our mutual commitment to develop and strengthen the partnership between the European Union and Canada even further in order to face jointly the world’s challenges. 

Once again, it is a pleasure, c’est un plaisir de te recevoir à Bruxelles. 

Merci.

Q&A 

Q. I wonder if you could tell us how you interpreted President [of France, Emmanuel] Macron’s remarks yesterday that the EU should present its own security proposal to the Russians? Is there even a format for that since the Russians demands came in writing to NATO and the US? But even more importantly, does the EU agree with President Biden that a minor incursion into Ukraine would have less severe consequences? Is a minor incursion acceptable?

Nothing new, but important. Certainly, there is a big threat at the Ukrainian border, and we take this threat very seriously. We consider this massing of troops in the Ukrainian border [as] something that is a threat and can be a big danger and we are working together with the allies in order to be ready to implement an answer - which will be very costly for Russia - if there is any kind of aggression against Ukraine. So, the warning of President Biden goes exactly in the same direction, in which we have been working these days: there is a threat, an important threat, we take it seriously and we are working on the answer.

Follow-up question: Is a minor incursion acceptable?  

A threat is a threat. And, certainly, when you mass 140,000 troops at the border, you can use it in many different ways. And about President Macron, I was there. And I think that it is also an important statement, but it is part of what we have been saying since the beginning: that Europeans have to be presenting their view on this issue, that nothing can be agreed about European security or the security in Europe without the participation of the Europeans. And President Macron did not say that Europeans were going to present their own proposals to the Russians. He said that, together with the allies, the Europeans have to have in mind what they understand as the security order in Europe. And, on that, I completely agree with President Macron. 

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-217014 

Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)460 75 45 53
Paloma Hall Caballero
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)2 296 85 60
+32 (0)460 76 85 60