Luxembourg’s foreign minister said in Brussels on Monday that if London assumes failure of the planned agreement on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, it will leave Europe, as it will be the only country in Europe with which there is no trade agreement between the European Union.
In a statement ahead of the one-day meeting of EU foreign ministers, Jan Asselborn reminded that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously said that the UK would leave the European Union but not leave Europe. In return, he said, in the absence of a trade agreement, London would also leave Europe.
I hope Johnson will fulfill what he promised, because the current proposal, which negotiating delegations developed over months of work, is fair and ambitious and does not include tariffs and quotas.
He also said that, before International Human Rights Day on December 10, the Council of Foreign Ministers will adopt a text introducing a general system of punitive measures to punish human rights violations.
Speaking about the latter, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell said that the text discussed a year ago still needed to clarify the division of responsibilities between the European Commission and the European Council of Ministers. According to him, the organization of the process is expected to remain in the hands of the Council, and its members (governments of European Union member states) will be able to decide on the initiation of sanctions.
It is important that we finally have a tool to take action against human rights violators
The head of EU diplomacy added.
Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister who holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, described the creation of the sanctions regime as an important success for the work of the German presidency of the European Union. He said that the mechanism would allow the union to take effective measures against those who do not respect human rights anywhere in the world.
Regarding EU relations with the United States, Maas said that the inauguration of the new US administration provides many opportunities for improving relations between the two regions. Maas added that the union needs to clearly define the main areas where transatlantic relations need to be strengthened.
At their meeting on Monday, the foreign ministers of EU member states will, above all, exchange views on transatlantic relations in order to define future priorities for cooperation between the European Union and the United States. They also review recent international developments, including the situation after the elections in Georgia, the Venezuelan parliamentary elections, and developments in Turkey regarding the situation in the eastern Mediterranean. The ministers will also discuss the implications for Hong Kong of the new national security law introduced by Beijing on June 30, which has been criticized by many.