‘Von Der Leyen’s Trip to Israel had High Cost for Europe’ – Borrell

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell and EU Commission President, Ursula Von Der Leyen. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Josep Borrell, the EU Foreign Affairs Chief, has reportedly criticized the EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen’s trip to Israel saying she represents no one else in a matter related to international politics. 

The European Union (EU)’s High Representative for Foreign and Defense Policy Josep Borrell has reportedly accused European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen of siding with Israel by obstructing efforts to recognize the Palestinian state in Europe. 

According to the Middle-East Monitor (MEMO), Borrell said in an interview with El Pais newspaper published on Sunday, that  “Von der Leyen’s trip to Israel, with such an absolutely supportive position of Israel, in which she represents no one else in a matter related to international politics, had a high geopolitical cost for Europe.”

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Borrell regretted that the West would be exposed to great problems due to ill-considered political stances regarding the war in Palestine and Ukraine, the MEMO report adds. He considered Von der Leyen’s position one of the most significant diplomatic errors.

MEMO further reported that this is not Borrell’s first criticism of von der Leyen, his leader in the European bloc.

In October, he said that European foreign ministers and the European Council are the ones who determine EU policy, in an apparent response to her visit to Israel and expression of full support for Tel Aviv.


Informed sources in the EC in Brussels say Borrell’s outburst in his interview with El Pais newspaper and the accusations against his president is not only due to her support and bias towards Israel but also her obstruction of member states’ efforts that want to agree on a unified date to recognize the Palestinian state, the MEMO report continued. 

Belgium, Ireland, and Spain have contacted the rest of the members and received a response from countries such as Italy and Portugal.

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The report stated that Sweden and Poland also supported the move to recognize the Palestinian state. However, the president of the EC is pressuring Eastern European countries not to become involved.

Von der Leyen’s obstruction of efforts to achieve consensus on recognizing the Palestinian state would push countries such as Spain to unilaterally recognize it, and other countries might follow suit.

A Palestinian State 

Meanwhile, reported MEMO, Borrell wants to unify the European countries’ position on an issue over which there is no division, which is recognition of the Palestinian state.

Members of the European Parliament denounced von der Leyen’s biased policy in favor of Israel at the expense of Palestine, the report concludes.

In November, Borrell reportedly stated “I think that the best guarantee for Israel’s security is the creation of a Palestinian state”.

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“Despite the huge challenges, we have to advance our reflections on the stabilization of Gaza and the future Palestinian state,” he added.

Earlier this month, Borrell reiterated his call on Israel to halt a military invasion of the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

“The EU asks Israel not to take military action in Rafah that would worsen an already catastrophic humanitarian situation,” Borrell wrote on X, sharing the link to one of his previous statements.

He stressed that all civilians must be protected in line with international humanitarian law, and called for Israel to respect the International Court of Justice’s order issued last month.


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