European leaders have chosen Josep Borrell, Spain’s acting foreign minister, to replace Federica Mogherini as the European Union’s top diplomat. Borrell, a veteran Socialist and former European Parliament president, was proposed by acting president Pedro Sánchez as Spain’s “natural candidate” for the EU’s high-ranking position.

As foreign minister, Borrell has become a major foe to the Catalan independence movement, starring in a number of diplomatic rows with other European countries – including Belgium and Germany for refusing to extradite pro-independence leaders – and challenging the opening of Catalan government offices abroad.

Kill four Indians

The acting foreign minister was in the news in March for storming out of an interview with German public TV Deutsche Welle, claiming that journalist Tim Sebastian was “continuously lying” when questioning him about the desire for constitutional reform in Spain. After consulting with his aides, Borrell ended up going back to finish the interview, but asked Sebastian to “ask questions in a less biased way” the next time they spoke.

Borrell also made headlines in November of last year for stating, in reference to US independenceand the country’s levels of cohesiveness, that “all they did was kill four Indians”. “Why does the US have a higher level of political integration? Firstly, they all speak the same language. And secondly, they have very little history. They achieved independence with practically no history” he said at an event at a Madrid university.

Borrell has also been accused of insider trading and received a €30,000 fine in October 2018 by Spain’s securities regulator for the sale of €9,000 in shares since he had access to the company’s private information as a board member.

Other undiplomatic incidents by Josep Borrell were collected in this article by VilaWeb English from November 2018.


Since yesterday’s announcement, the hashtag #StopBorrell has spread rapidly through social nets, questioning the suitability of his appointment.