Josep Borrell actually didn’t need to wear the white mouth and nose cover – it’s so lonely around him in the European Parliament on Tuesday afternoon. The plenary hall with space for more than 700 members is almost empty due to the corona.
A photographer targets the Spaniard, who has been the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy for over a year, from several meters away. Borrell doesn’t seem to notice. From half-closed eyes he gazes into space for seconds. You’d think he’s taking a nap before perhaps the most important speech of his tenure so far.
But for Josep Borrell, nicknamed Pepe, it is at least about damage limitation, if not about his office. And it is also about the foreign policy of the EU, the weakness of which Borrell’s recent visit to Moscow brutally exposed.
PR disaster in Moscow
The first trip by a High Representative to the Russian capital since 2017 turned into a PR disaster last week. Borrell was having a working lunch with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday afternoon when Russian media reported on Twitter that Moscow had expelled diplomats from Germany, Sweden and Poland.