EU foreign affairs chief: Europe faces threat from three ‘re-emerging empires’
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Josep Borrell said the three resurgent “empires” were Russia, China and Turkey.
By Martin Banks
Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine
15 Sep 2020
Borrell told Parliament’s plenary that “Europe faces a situation where empires are coming back – there are at least three of them.”
The former MEP said Russia, China and Turkey – “big in the past” – were now “coming back with an approach on their immediate neighbourhood and also globally.”
His comments came during a debate with MEPs on the “dangerous” escalation and the role of Turkey regarding offshore natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regional ambitions and push for control of gas resources in Eastern Mediterranean have put Turkey on a collision course with the European Union.
Tensions flared last month after Turkey sent a seismic research vessel to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.
“We do not want a confrontation with Turkey. Turkey is an important and key partner for the EU and an accession candidate, but it is clear that this has now been put into question” Josep Borrell, EU High Representative
NATO members Turkey and Greece have overlapping claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara now faces potential sanctions from the EU, which says it fully supports Member States Greece and Cyprus.
Dangerous military incidents involving Turkey, Greece and France have raised the risk of conflict. EU Member States have been split on how best to manage relations with Ankara, with France seeking a tougher stance while Germany urges caution.
But the more Turkey continues its current course of action the likelier it is that the EU will shift towards imposing economic sanctions.
Borrell joined some Member States, including Germany, in saying he wants to defuse the stand-off through dialogue.