European Council: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell upon arrival

EEAS Press Team

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Well, today [we will discuss] Ukraine and sanctions. Tomorrow, Defence. We will talk about defence tomorrow, but it is an important [European] Council for defence issues. 

Together with the [European] Commission, we will present a Joint Communication about how to enhance the defence capabilities of the European Union Member States and [of the European Union] as a whole. 

But today, the important thing is to discuss how do we make a final deal on the 6th sanctions package. I am fully confident that we will get an agreement.

Yesterday afternoon and today in the morning, the COREPER has been meeting. We have been pushing everyone in order to get an agreement today. And, I am very much confident that we will have this agreement.  
Q. How can you be sure that Mr [Viktor] Orban will agree with that? 

I am sure. Well, I am confident. 
 Q. Turkey is not agreeing that Sweden and Finland will be members of NATO. What do you say?  

It is not in the agenda. 
 Q. Une question sur la crise alimentaire : est-ce que vous pensez qu’il faut lever les sanctions sur la Biélorussie pour laisser passer les céréales ? 

Écoutez, la crise alimentaire, c’est l’autre sujet qu’on va traiter aujourd’hui. C’est évident que la Russie utilise le blé comme une arme, comme une arme de guerre. On est en train de voir de quelle manière faire sortir les 20 millions de tonnes de blé ukrainien. Ce n’est pas facile - il faut évidemment un accord avec la Russie pour utiliser la voie maritime. Mais ça, c'est un sujet d'une énorme importance. On ne peut pas affamer le monde.

We cannot create hunger in the world - that is what Putin is doing. He is implementing policies and destroying stockpiles of wheat. This is something on which the [European] Council will have to say something, because it is a big tragedy. It is going to be very damaging for a lot of countries around the world.

And then, the war, the war itself. We have to continue supporting Ukraine. We have to be stubborn. A war is a war. It will last, and in a war there are ups and downs. Russia is bombing and destroying everything in the Donbas. We have to continue supporting Ukraine – military and with sanctions against Russia. Sanctions are already creating big damage to the Russian economy. The Russian factories of cars had to stop, and from here to the summer, the economic situation in Russia will be very bad. On our side, we have to continue providing arms to Ukraine. Ukrainians are fighting, and they need our support. 
 Q. Sur les sanctions : est-ce que la piste biélorusse avancée par les États-Unis est une piste que vous étudiez également ? 

 Q. You are speaking of unity, but the European Union has 26 Member States that have to give in to every demand Hungary makes to save the unity of the 27. 

Yes, I know it is difficult because - you know - we have to decide by unanimity and in order to have unanimity, you have to accommodate the requests, the considerations, some problems on specific situations of each Member State. And I am sure that we will be able to look for a pragmatic approach in order to go quickly to the ban on oil imports from Russia. We have to stop the funding of the Russian war machine. 
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Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)460 75 45 53
Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 2 29 88093
+32 (0) 460 79 52 44