Empires Are Back: EU Top Diplomats Warns of Threat From Three ‘Re-Emerging Empires’

Written by | Thursday, September 17th, 2020

“Europe faces a situation where empires are coming back – there are at least three of them,” EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, told Parliament’s plenary, adding that the three resurgent “empires” were Russia, China and Turkey. Borrell’s comments came on Tuesday (15 September) during a debate with MEPs on the “dangerous” escalation and the role of Turkey regarding offshore natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. The former MEP said Russia, China and Turkey – “big in the past” – were now “coming back with an approach on their immediate neighbourhood and also globally.”
The EU has reached a critical junction in its relations with Turkey, EU’s chief diplomat said, urging Ankara to back down from conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean and uphold basic human rights in the country. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s regional ambitions and push for control of gas resources in Eastern Mediterranean have put Turkey on a collision course with the European Union. Tensions flared last month after Ankara sent a seismic research vessel to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. “We do not want a confrontation with Turkey. Turkey is an important and key partner for the EU and an accession candidate, but it is clear that this has now been put into question,” Borrell said.
Borrell also stressed that the “EU stands in full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus with respect to Turkey” and “immediate de-escalation is essential to allow the resumption of dialogue and the negotiations, which is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions”. He also underlined that if Turkey doesn’t stop all its unilateral actions, including illegal drilling for oil and gas, the EU will implement a list of sanctions against the country that EU foreign ministers agreed in Berlin on 28 August. The first phase of sanctions would concern Turkey’s energy sector, especially companies involved in the illegal drillings in the Eastern Mediterranean in the exclusive economic zones of Greece and Cyprus. And EU’s top diplomat stressed sanctions could be extended to ships or other assets involved in the drilling, and include a ban on the use of EU ports and supplies, as well as restrictions of “economic and financial infrastructure related with this activity”.

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