Catalan MEP Toni Comín (Junts party) has expressed his displeasure with EU foreign policy representative Josep Borrell, a view shared with a large part of the European Parliament in debates this week, with the Union's relations with Russia being placed under further strain since Borrell's visit to the Kremlin last week.
In a parliamentary session on Tuesday, which for EU technical reasons has only now been published, Comín questions the position represented by the former Spanish Socialist minister Borrell.
He also points out the incongruity of Borrell demanding peace in Yemen, given his political career: "You talk about human rights in Yemen, but in 2019 Spain continued to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia with your endorsement, Mr Borrell, when you were Spanish foreign minister: we have said this time and time again from this chamber: you cannot defend human rights without credibility."
The crises in Yemen and Russia
Comín linked the crisis in Yemen with that in Russia over the Navalni case and concluded, speaking directly to Borrell, who was just a few metres away: "Are you not ashamed to go to Moscow to demand the release of Navalni without speaking about the political prisoners in Catalonia? It is this incongruity that is destroying international respect for the EU as a democratic power. If Russia has humiliated the EU, it is because of its own silence about what is happening in Spain. For how long will you continue to hide behind your role in the EU. Spain is going to lead the European Union to diplomatic disaster and you are the face of that."
While Borrell's facial expression projected a mixture of indifference and astonishment, Comín continued his intervention, ending with a final reproach: "We've had enough of this irresponsibility, commissioner". The EU foreign policy representative met with criticisms from many parliamentarians in the session, which was centred on the question of how to achieve peace in Yemen.
Speaking to the Parliament himself, commissioner Borrell reiterated "that a political solution for Yemen is needed in order to achieve stability" and emphasized European humanitarian aid and the United Nations' "peacemaking efforts". "The EU will help to the limit of our capacities - our role is a modest one," said the European foreign policy chief.