On July 2 President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced that the leaders of the EU member states had agreed on the candidates for top EU positions.
In particular, Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has been proposed as chief of the European Commission, Belgium’s Charles Michel is nominated to head the European Council, and Spain’s Josep Borrell has been chosen as the next EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Mediamax recalls the contacts that the three politicans have had with Armenia.
Ursula von der Leyen
61-year-old Ursula von der Leyen has served as Defense Minister of Germany since 2013.
On 7 December 2015, she visited the Mazar-i-Sharif Camp Marmal military base in Afghanistan and met with Armenian peacekeepers serving within the North command, under the German Command.
Photo: Ministry of Defense of Armenia
The Defense Minister thanked the commander and personnel for the joint service and collaboration. She noted that Armenia was considered a reliable partner.
Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel visited Armenia in October of 2018 to attend the 17th Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie.
On the margins of the summit Michel met with his Armenian counterpart Nikol Pashinyan, who highlighted that the Belgian Prime Minister was considered a friend of the Armenian people in recognition of his activity and attitude.
Charles Michel pointed out that by hosting the summit Armenia became a focal point for the Francophone countries and the international community in general.
Photo: press service of the Government of Armenia
Afterwards, Charles Michel visited the Armenian Genocide memorial complex and museum.
Three years earlier Turkey condemned him for publicly recognizing the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. “The statement of the Belgian Prime Minister is inconsistent with historical facts and incompatible with international law,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
Addressing the Belgian parliament, Michel said that the slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians “must be viewed as a genocide”.
On 6 December 2018, acting Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan met with Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan.
Mnatsakanyan stressed the importance of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) for deepening bilateral and multilateral relations with the EU member states.
In December of 2004, Josep Borrell served as the President of the European Parliament. Commenting on the French government’s calls for Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide in order to win membership in the European Union, he said:
“We are just recognizing certain historical events. We are not stating that this would be a prerequisite to opening negotiations.”
On 20 October 2005, at the meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, Borell stated that the issue of re-opening of the Turkish-Armenian border should be discussed during Turkey’s EU accession talks.
Photo: European Parliament
Answering the question from Mediamax’s special correspondent, Josep Borrell recalled that in its recent resolution the European Parliament urged upon Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and to open the border with Armenia. At the same time, he said, the European Parliament “decisively and resolutely stated about the need of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey” before as well.
After the meeting with Kocharyan, Borrell stated that the European Parliament would do its utmost so that the talks on Armenia’s Action Plan within the European Neighborhood Policy started immediately and were not linked with the problems between Azerbaijan and Cyprus. “It will be strange if the talks with Armenia remain blocked because of the problems in relations between Azerbaijan and Cyprus, caused by the direct flight from Northern Cyprus to Baku,” he noted.
He added that the draft constitutional amendments put on a national referendum in Armenia “will provide real progress in strengthening democratic institutions”. According to Borrell, the mentioned amendments would allow to ensure a better balance between the branches of power in Armenia.